BAIN­I­MARAMA AP­PEALS FOR MEANS TO ADAPT AND SUR­VIVE

‘WE UR­GENTLY NEED TO GAIN AC­CESS TO THE FUND­ING WE NEED TO BUILD OUR RE­SILIENCE’ Prime Min­is­ter ad­dresses sum­mit in Is­tan­bul, Tur­key, on be­half of vul­ner­a­ble Pa­cific Is­land states un­der threat from ex­treme weather events and ris­ing sea lev­els.

Fiji Sun - - Big Story - Voreqe Bain­i­marama Prime Min­is­ter Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

The fol­low­ing is Fiji’s Na­tional state­ment at the World Hu­man­i­tar­ian Sum­mit in Is­tan­bul, Tur­key.

Fiji comes to the first World Hu­man­i­tar­ian Sum­mit de­ter­mined to give Pa­cific Is­lan­ders a voice and con­trib­ute to this his­toric global de­bate. We share the de­vel­op­ment chal­lenges of many small and vul­ner­a­ble na­tions and our pri­or­i­ties are re­flected in the for­mal com­mit­ments we are mak­ing here in Is­tan­bul. Fiji recog­nises that only by grow­ing our econ­omy can we com­bat poverty and im­prove the liv­ing stan­dards of our people. But we will not com­pro­mise on our over­ar­ch­ing prin­ci­ple that any de­vel­op­ment must be sus­tain­able. Be­cause our pris­tine sur­round­ings are our ul­ti­mate liveli­hood through the vis­i­tors we at­tract. And the Fi­jian Made brand of qual­ity goods and ser­vices we take to the world. We are com­mit­ting to higher stan­dards of gov­er­nance through zero tol­er­ance for cor­rup­tion and such mea­sures as an in­te­grated na­tional fi­nanc­ing frame­work and the bet­ter col­lec­tion of data to im­prove de­ci­sion­mak­ing.

And our so­cial pri­or­i­ties are re­flected in our com­mit­ments to im­prove the po­si­tion of women and girls and pre­vent gen­der based vi­o­lence. But by far our most im­por­tant pri­or­ity re­lates to the big­gest hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis we have ever faced in the Pa­cific – the es­ca­lat­ing threat to our phys­i­cal safety and way of life posed by the ex­treme weather events and ris­ing sea lev­els caused by cli­mate change. In com­mon with other small and vul­ner­a­ble states the world over, we ur­gently need to gain ac­cess to the fund­ing we need - in the form of grants or loans - to build our re­silience to with­stand this threat. To strengthen our homes and our in­fras­truc­ture. And strengthen our re­sponse to dis­as­ter wher­ever and when­ever it strikes. Three months ago, the big­gest cy­clone ever to make land­fall in the south­ern hemi­sphere slammed into Fiji with winds of more than 300-kilo­me­tres an hour. Cy­clone Win­ston killed 44 Fi­jians and rav­aged 40,000 homes, pub­lic build­ings and in­fras­truc­ture – leav­ing us with a dam­age bill of 1.4 bil­lion US dol­lars. And while it could have been much worse be­cause Win­ston spared our main tourism ar­eas, Fiji is a stark re­minder to the world of the new and fright­en­ing era that is dawn­ing on us be­cause of cli­mate change. Stronger and more fre­quent cy­clonic winds, more floods, more droughts. And the ever-ris­ing seas that are al­ready swamp­ing arable coastal land and are des­tined to swal­low up three Pa­cific na­tions al­to­gether – our friends in Kiri­bati, Tu­valu and the Mar­shall Is­lands. Fiji and the other mem­bers of the Pa­cific Is­lands De­vel­op­ment Fo­rum want the present cap on global warm­ing agreed to in Paris – 2 de­grees Cel­sius above the pre in­dus­trial age – low­ered to 1.5 de­grees. And in the mean­time, I ap­peal to you all on be­half of ev­ery Pa­cific Is­lan­der to pro­vide us with the fi­nan­cial means to adapt and sur­vive.

Fiji recog­nises that only by grow­ing our econ­omy can we com­bat poverty and im­prove the liv­ing stan­dards of our people. But we will not com­pro­mise on our over­ar­ch­ing prin­ci­ple that any de­vel­op­ment must be sus­tain­able.

Photo: DEPTFO News

Photo: DEPTFO News

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama (sec­ond from right), sits next to the Ger­man Chan­cel­lor, An­gela Merkel, of­ten called the most pow­er­ful woman in the world.

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