A-G: Fiji to Chair top ADB re­gional meet­ing

‘The dev­as­ta­tion we suf­fered demon­strates ab­so­lute need for fu­ture in­vest­ments in in­fra­struc­ture to be cli­mate re­silient’

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - Source: DEPTFO News Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Fiji has out­lined its needs and pri­or­i­ties in the wake of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston at a meet­ing between the At­tor­neyGen­eral and Min­is­ter for Fi­nance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and the pres­i­dent of the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB), Take­hiko Nakao. The A-G gave Mr Nakao a de­tailed brief­ing on the Win­ston re­cov­ery and re­build­ing ef­forts when the two men held talks dur­ing the 49th ADB an­nual meet­ing in Frank­furt, Ger­many. He high­lighted three ar­eas that the Govern­ment was tar­get­ing to as­sist the Fi­jian peo­ple - the restora­tion of elec­tric­ity and water, the re­pair and re­build­ing of homes that had been dam­aged or de­stroyed and the re­con­struc­tion of schools, health cen­tres and other public in­fra­struc­ture. He made spe­cial men­tion of the Govern­ment’s “Help for Homes” ini­tia­tive and the “Adopt a School” pro­gramme as prac­ti­cal mea­sures de­signed to help the Fi­jian peo­ple get back on their feet as quickly as pos­si­ble. The A-G said the over­rid­ing les­son from Win­ston was that Fiji and other small and vul­ner­a­ble states needed to be much bet­ter pre­pared for the ex­treme weather events and ris­ing sea lev­els as­so­ci­ated with cli­mate change. “The dev­as­ta­tion we suf­fered from Cy­clone Win­ston demon­strates the ab­so­lute need for any fu­ture in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture to be cli­mate re­silient,” he said.

In their dis­cus­sion about the vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ment by the ADB of Pa­cific Is­land Coun­tries (‘PICs’), the A-G stressed the ex­treme vul­ner­a­bil­ity of the PICs to cli­mate change.

“We are all rel­a­tively small with nar­row eco­nomic bases. And we are con­fronting an era in which a sin­gle cli­matic event can dec­i­mate our en­tire economies and wind back our hard won de­vel­op­ment gains for decades,” he said. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was im­per­a­tive for Fiji and other small and vul­ner­a­ble na­tions to be able to gain eas­ier and more eq­ui­table ac­cess to fi­nance to en­able them to build cli­mate re­silience and fu­ture proof their economies. For his part, the ADB pres­i­dent con­veyed his con­do­lences to the Fi­jian peo­ple for the 44 lives lost dur­ing Cy­clone Win­ston and the trail of dev­as­ta­tion in af­fected com- mu­ni­ties. Dur­ing the talks, the A-G also high­lighted ini­tia­tives that the Govern­ment was un­der­tak­ing to en­hance the de­vel­op­ment of the fi­nan­cial sec­tor, par­tic­u­larly the do­mes­tic se­cu­ri­ties mar­ket in Fiji. The A-G said that with a well-reg­u­lated and trans­par­ent sec­tor, Fiji was well-placed to be the hub of the Pa­cific for fi­nan­cial mar­ket-re­lated trans­ac­tions. The A-G re­quested ADB as­sis­tance to fur­ther de­velop the small and mi­cro en­ter­prise sec­tor, which he said was a key pri­or­ity of the Fi­jian Govern­ment. He said a flour­ish­ing small and mi­cro en­ter­prise sec­tor would not only en­sure sus­tained in­comes for those di­rectly in­volved and pro­mote job cre­ation and se­cu­rity but would also gen­er­ate wider eco­nomic pros­per­ity and growth.

Photo: DEPTFO News

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with the ADB pres­i­dent Take­hiko Nakao.

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