Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
26th January 2012, Nadi: On Wednesday 25 January 2012 Minister for Environment Mr Samuela Saumatua formally welcomed MSG Environment, Foreign Ministers & Climate Change Ministers and officials to their inaugural meeting which is being held at the Tanoa Hotel in Nadi. Countries attending were PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, FLNKS (New Caledonia) and Fiji. Leading the Fiji Delegation is the Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.
The meeting under the theme, 'Environment, Climate Change & Environment is being co-sponsored by the Fijian Government, IUCN & GIZ.
Below is Minister Saumatua's Address at the Official Welcome Ceremony at Novotel, Nadi:
SPEECH BY MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT, URBAN DEVELOPMENT, HOUSING & ENVIRONMENT AT THE WELCOME CEREMONY FOR THE MSG MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE MEETING, NOVOTEL HOTEL, NADI, WEDNESDAY 25 JANUARY 2012
•MINISTERS FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE & FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE MSG COUNTRIES.•SENIOR OFFICIALS OF THE ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE & FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRIES OF THE MSG COUNTRIES•INVITED DISTINGUISHED GUESTS•LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
It is indeed a great honour for me, as the Chair of the MSG Environment and Climate Change Ministers of the MSG Countries to deliver this speech.
First and foremost, to you fellow Ministers and Senior Government Officials coming from off shore, welcome to Fiji.
I must say thank you to the Fiji Military Force, for the Traditional Welcome Ceremony that was accorded to us this morning. Especially our visitors.
This has clearly set a sound foundation to this important event.
The Environment and Climate Change Inaugural Ministers Meeting with the theme, “Environment, Climate Change and Melanisia” has marked a new direction for the MSG.
This is because Environment and Climate Change have been a driving force on economic and social development towards sustainability of our people.
My fellow Ministers and Senior Government Officials, your very presence here is a reflection of your commitment to discuss issues that now form the very core of our existence and survival as Melanesian Countries and also as small island nations in the Pacific region. These issues environment and climate change will be the essence of our discussions these two days. Our islands are richly blessed with similar terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem and resources and I must emphasize the point that these are our strengths and it can also be our weaknesses.
Our task as Environment and Climate Change Ministers is to provide the leadership. This will convert public will into political will, and political will into actions and implementation that brings about positive growth and sustainability. Over the last decade, we have taken important steps forward. These include mainstreaming and integrating environmental and climate concerns in our areas of work in our respective governments. Despite these achievements, there are signs of a stagnating and fragmentation of the environment and sustainable development. This calls for the further strengthening of MSG’s voice and strategic leadership in the debate on regional and international environmental and climate change governance.
The overriding challenge is to provide our people with a better life and to eradicate the scourge of hunger and poverty. It is therefore appropriate that environment and climate change management and planning are key focus of this meeting.
I know that this meeting will demonstrate that MSG Environment & Climate Change Ministers are providing leadership in safeguarding the environment for future generations, and meeting the multi-faceted challenges posed by climate change.
I must also thank my fellow Ministers and Senior Government Officials for giving in your busy work schedule to attend this meeting.
At this juncture, I must congratulate the good leadership of the MSG. It is through this leadership that we are able to convene this inaugural meeting.
A big thank you too to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and GIZ in financially supporting and providing additional technical support to the meeting.
I look forward to our deliberations over the next two days, to the meaningful outcomes that will emerge from this 1st Meeting, as well as ever closer cooperation within the MSG countries in the years to come.
I would like to leave you with a saying, “A wise man once said – “if you want to go fast you go alone, if you want to go far you go together”.
It is essential that we all go together.
We must work cohesively and together as MSG countries to achieve our common objectives.
I thank you all very much for your attention, and wish you the best for the two days meeting. Vinaka vakalevu, Thank you.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji