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     Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Minister Kubuabola Addresses MSG Climate Change Meet

26th January 2012, Nadi : This morning Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation and Minister in charge of Climate Change in Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola issued Fiji's Official Statement as Head of the Fijian Delegation at the MSG Environment & Climate Change Ministers inaugural meeting which is being held at the Tanoa Hotel in Nadi. Countries attending were PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, FLNKS (New Caledonia) and Fiji.

KUBUABOLA

The meeting under the theme, 'Environment, Climate Change & Environment, is being co-sponsored by the Fijian Government, IUCN & GIZ.

Below is Minister Kubuabola's Statement:

“I thank you Mr. Chairman.

“Hon Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, bula vinaka to you All.

“This inaugural meeting cannot take place at a more appropriate time particularly when we have all seen firsthand the adverse impacts of climate change over the past two days. The severe weather condition that covered the Western part of Viti Levu over the past two days is sufficient proof of what climate change could cause to our environment, our livelihood, our economy and our survival. And as we meet today, the advice we have received is that we would expect more flooding and hurricanes during this year’s hurricane season.”

“Mr. Chairman,

“Climate change threatens to set the Earth inevitably on the path to an unpredictably different environment. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), many parts of the planet will be warmer. Droughts, floods and other forms of extreme weather will become more frequent, threatening food supplies and livelihoods. Plants and animals which cannot adjust will die out. Sea levels are rising and will continue to do so which will inevitably force hundreds of thousands of people in coastal zones to migrate.”

“For Fiji, we have realised that climate change constitutes one of the greatest barriers to our sustainable development. It puts Fiji’s biodiversity and ecosystems, particularly marine and coastal, at risk. This has severe implications for Fiji’s economic growth, as the country relies heavily on its natural resources for economic development; fisheries, forestry and agriculture are its primary industries. The effects of climate change are widespread and cross-sectoral.”

“In this regard, my delegation sees this meeting as an opportunity for us as a Group to come together and discuss innovative and practical ways that we as a Group can effectively address the adverse impacts of climate change.”

“Environment and climate change have been two major issues that have been a matter of concern for the past decade. While several initiatives have been implemented to address these concerns, it is apparent that solutions are being outpaced by the rate at which Fiji’s resources are being depleted and degraded.”

“Mr. Chairman,

“As far as Fiji is concerned, we have made a lot of advances in our Government policies. Last week, I am honored to announce, that the Fiji Government passed a National Climate Change Policy, which we believe will facilitate a more holistic approach in regards to addressing this important issue at the national level. We have found that the absence of a climate change policy has made our implementation of relevant international obligations difficult and our coordination efforts more complicated, which in effect has constrained our efforts to systematically address climate change."

“For Fiji, the National Climate Change Policy sets a platform for dialogue and collaboration among government agencies and all stakeholders through organised planning and implementation of national and local climate change programmes."

“Mr. Chairman,

“As far as this meeting is concerned, we hope that this meeting will demonstrate that we as Environment and Climate Change Ministers are providing the needed leadership to safeguard our environment for our future generations by addressing the multi-faceted challenges posed by climate change."

“I look forward to our deliberations over the next two days and I hope that we will together reach a number of practical outcomes that will provide closer cooperation within our Group in the years to come."

“We must work together as MSG countries to achieve our common objectives."

“Vinaka vakalevu.