Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
30th November 2011, Durban South Africa: Fiji has been making its presence felt at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 7th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol that has been meeting in Durban, South Africa from 28th November to 9th December 2011.
Yesterday Fiji was requested by the Alliance of Small Island Development States (AOSIS) to speak on its behalf on the COP Loss and Damage Work Programme.
In her address the Alternative Head of Fiji’s Delegation and Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment Mrs. Taina Tagicakibau reminded COP that “the work programme on loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change is of critical importance to SIDS and that Fiji and AOSIS looks forward to working with our fellow Parties and our esteemed facilitators to establish a comprehensive set of activities to help guide this work programme to deliver an outcome that addresses the increasing impacts of climate change on vulnerable economies and populations. For SIDS already experiencing the impacts of climate change getting the work programme started as soon as possible is a matter of utmost urgency.”
“Before we leave Durban, we must agree on a set of focused activities that could be in the form of workshops and expert meetings to begin early in 2012, that will provide a combination of information exchange and generation to help improve understanding and conversation between Parties; provide opportunities for other stakeholders to contribute on this critical issue and expand public awareness of the growing impacts from climate change. The AOSIS submission on the work programme, made earlier this year, proposes a set of activities and timeline for the work programme which envisages parallel discussions on each of the elements listed in paragraph 28 of decision 1/CP.16. Given the current limitations of the Convention budget, AOSIS suggests that the Work Programme seek to identify ways for capitalising on relevant activities on loss and damage that are taking place outside the Convention process to enrich and inform discussions by Parties.”
“As stated in our general address to the plenary, AOSIS is calling for a decision at COP17, which describes the work plan of the programme and articulates the goal of establishing an international mechanism on loss and damage by COP18. With simultaneous discussions on the related issues such as the Adaptation Committee and the Green Climate Fund we have the unique opportunity to design a work programme that considers the linkages of a future mechanism on loss and damage to other institutional arrangements under the Convention. The role of the Convention in guiding and supporting regional and national-level activity on loss and damage is a critical one, and we look forward to exploring it over the course of the work of the programme.”
“The meaning of “urgency” is to act now as there is no more time to stabilize greenhouse gas at liveable levels. Intense cyclones, sea level rise, floods, earthquakes occur regularly affecting many lives.
Madam President there has to be effective implementation of the Convention and measures on loss and damage decided here in Durban.
For us to play our part under the Convention the capacity building framework review must be completed and implemented. As well, my Delegation would want it continued for specific areas of needs under the second commitment.”
In other positive developments yesterday:
1. With the intervention of our Delegate the Deputy Conservator of Forests Samu Lagataki Fiji was added into another grouping of countries the COALITION FOR RAINFOREST NATIONS1 (a Coalition of Developing Nations with rainforests)and publically acknowledged as such during the main COP17 session when the group made its presentation. It should be noted in COP protocol country groups are the only ones that can make presentations during certain plenaries. Enlarging our group membership raises our profile and ensures our message is repeated and presented in more than one occasion. 2. The Delegation is also exploring other avenues for the dissemination of Fiji’s views on critical climate change issues. 3. This morning AOSIS approached Fiji to lead the consideration of an Observer application of a territory that has expressed an interest to join COP as an Observer. 4. Another of our Delegate Lami Town Council CEO Ms. Priya Ieli will be featured in a media event here this Friday where she will speak about Lami's climate change projects. This is an achievement for Lami to be selected to make such a presentation.
In the meantime yesterday Fiji joined its Asia Pacific partners in a meeting where Qatar was formalized as the chosen candidate for the Asia Pacific region to host COP18 next year. The Republic of Korea was also selected to host the pre-COP.
The Fiji Delegation to these Pre-COP17 discussions is led by the Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment, Mrs. Taina Tagicakibau and includes the Acting Deputy Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Mr. Penijamini Lomaloma, Director Environment Mr. Jope Davetanivalu, Director Meteorology Mr. Alipate Waqaicelua, Ms. Alisi Pulini Climate Change Officer Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation,other Government officials and NGO’s from Fiji including Fiji’s High Commissioner to South Africa Mr. Ben Salacakau. The Minister for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment Colonel Samuela Saumatua will be joining the Delegation later when the Higher Level Sessions begin the following week.
(Photo caption: Permanent Secretary Taina Tagicakibau)
1Countries participating in the activities of the Rainforest Coalition presently include:Argentina, Bangladesh, Belize, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, DR Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay, Uganda, Vanuatu and Vietnam
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji