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6 - 17 November 2017  
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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

COP17 Opens

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28th November 2011, Durban, South Africa: 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 opened this morning in Durban, South Africa with a welcoming ceremony attended by H.E. Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa. The first item in the agenda was the election of H.E. Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa as President of COP17/CMP7.

Meanwhile the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) of which Fiji is a member says it will not accept outcomes at COP17 that propose to delay any new binding agreement or more ambitious emissions reductions until 2020, as these cannot safeguard the livelihoods and guarantee the survival of our nations.

Ambassador Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations and Chair of AOSIS cautioned that if Durban puts off a legally binding agreement and closes the door on raising mitigation ambition before 2020 many of our small island states will be severely threatened.

AOSIS is calling on the Durban conference to deliver agreement on a second five-year commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, a process to rapidly ramp up mitigation ambition, and a mandate to quickly conclude a new parallel legal agreement in 2012 to cover those not bound by the Kyoto Protocol," she said.
“ After a year of record emissions growth and the hottest temperatures on record, the push by the world’s biggest carbon polluters to delay flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence in support of immediate action and represents a betrayal of the people most vulnerable to climate change and the world.

“To fulfill our moral and ethical obligation to protect our people, AOSIS will here in Durban reject any outcome that cannot ultimately safeguard our livelihoods and guarantee the survival of our nations. Why would we ever agree to a deal that has as its ultimate and inevitable consequence our own demise? If Durban puts off a legally binding agreement and closes the door on raising mitigation ambition before 2020 many of our small island states will be literally and figuratively doomed.

“As noted last week by the International Energy Agency, delaying action until 2017 would close the door to any hope of keeping warming below 2°C, and put humanity on a course to the devastation of 4°C of warming and many metres of sea-level rise. The proposed 2020 timeline would also leave more than five years between the next report of the IPCC (due in 2014) and a new round of emission reduction commitments.

“It is a betrayal not just of small island nations, many of whom would be destined for extinction, but a betrayal of all humanity. There are no plausible technical, economic or legal impediments for not taking the actions required by science – we need to act now!”

The Fiji Delegation to COP17 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, Deputy Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN Mr Luke Daunivalu, Deputy Conservator of Forests Mr Samuela Lagataki, Dr Helena des Combes of USP, Lami Town Council CEO Ms Preeya Ieli, Ms. Alisi Pulini Climate Change Officer Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, 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.

The Fiji Delegation has been working closely with AOSIS, Pacific Small Island Development States, and G77 and China since arriving in Durban.

(Photo caption 1: Fiji COP17 delegates Mr. Daunivalu, Mrs. Tagicakibau, Ms. Ieli & Mr. Lomaloma)

(Photo caption 2: COP17 Opening Session with COP16 President Mexico’s Foreign Minister Presiding before handover to new COP17 President)