Our Num­ber One Pri­or­ity Is Land And Sea In Green Growth Plan: PM

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - MAIKA BOLATIKI Edited by Manasa Kalouniv­iti

Fiji has made the sus­tain­able use of our land and sea re­sources as our Num­ber One na­tional pri­or­ity, says Voreqe Bain­i­marama. “This is along with deal­ing with any threat to our de­vel­op­ment and the wel­fare of our peo­ple, and es­pe­cially the threat posed by cli­mate change,” the Prime Min­is­ter said. Mr Bain­i­marama was de­liv­er­ing his speak­ing points on Eq­ui­table and Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment for ACP Coun­tries and Peo­ples Agenda 5 at the 8th Sum­mit of ACP Heads of State and Govern­ment in Port Moresby on Tues­day. He said he was de­lighted to be able to share some of Fiji’s ex­pe­ri­ences with them as the only Pa­cific na­tion to have de­vel­oped a Green Growth Frame­work that was at the heart of its de­vel­op­ment agenda. That frame­work, he said, set a bench­mark for every de­vel­op­ment de­ci­sion Govern­ment made in Fiji and stressed that no na­tional project pro­ceeded without meet­ing the fun­da­men­tal re­quire­ment that it must be sus­tain­able. He said Govern­ment had also in­cor­po­rated the same prin­ci­ple into its Trade Pol­icy Frame­work, which made sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment the foun­da­tion of all its ef­forts to de­velop trade with other na­tions. “We don’t want in­vestors in Fiji who pose any threat to our en­vi­ron­ment. We want clean, green in­dus­tries that are in keep­ing with our na­tional pri­or­i­ties and ob­jec­tives,” Mr Bain­i­marama said. He said Govern­ment started out with the un­der­ly­ing premise that the old ways of grow­ing the econ­omy, of devel­op­ing the na­tion, were no longer ad­e­quate or ac­cept­able. “Too much of what had been done had been un­sus­tain­able. In far too many in­stances, our re­sources had been ex­ploited with lit­tle re­gard for the need to nur­ture them so that they can con­tinue to pro­vide the pros­per­ity on which we all de­pend.”

As a devel­op­ing state, he said Fiji knew that its pris­tine sur­round­ings were its ul­ti­mate liveli­hood and they must do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to pro­tect them. Ac­cord­ing to Mr Bain­i­marama it is what draws hun­dreds of thou­sands of in­ter­na­tional visi­tors to Fiji’s shores every year, along with the famed hos­pi­tal­ity of its peo­ple. And be­cause tourism is its Num­ber One in­dus­try, main­tain­ing its is­land en­vi­ron­ment to the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard is cru­cial to main­tain­ing the health of its econ­omy.

It is an im­age, he said, that must be pro­tected at all costs for the sake of the eco­nomic well­be­ing of the Fi­jian peo­ple now and for gen­er­a­tions to come. At sea, he said Fiji have had prob­lems with over­fish­ing, the strip­ping of reefs and of pris­tine wa­ters pol­luted with refuse such as plas­tic bags, bot­tles and con­tain­ers. He added that on land, Fiji had a prob­lem with lit­ter strew­ing many of its beaches and high­ways. Govern­ment, he said was cur­rently try­ing to change the be­hav­iour of the peo­ple to get them to take per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep Fiji clean.

“Far too of­ten, in the past, de­vel­op­ments that were not sus­tain­able were given the go ahead; whether be­cause of cor­rup­tion, ig­no­rance or both. But all that he said had now come to an end.” He said they had reached a con­sen­sus in Fiji that de­ci­sive ac­tion was needed to tackle some of th­ese prob­lems and set a bench­mark for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment. With its Green Growth Frame­work un­veiled last year, that is what they have done.

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