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Fiji commended for its leadership on ocean-related issues

The President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly has commended Fiji for its leadership on Oceans issues.

Dr Tijjani Muhammad-Bande is on an official visit in the country and said Fiji has been doing a great job.

He said the UN was looking forward to working with Fiji on various aspects.

“The threat to the environment the whole question of the year 2020 and what it means for Fiji, 50 years of independence is extremely important. For the United Nations, 75 years is also extremely significant.”

Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum echoed similar sentiments.

“Fiji is welcoming our 50th year of independence as the United Nations enters its 75th year so 2020 is a milestone for both of us, it’s clear that our corporation is entering a new era as well as we have explored a number of new ways the United Nations can support sustainable development aspirations in Fiji and indeed across the entire Pacific.”

There were discussions between the President and the Acting Prime Minister on how to help safeguard marine resources.

“As we usher in a new decade, 2020 brings a critical series of global gatherings where world leaders will meet to save our forests, rivers, biodiversity and oceans from humankind’s reckless and unchecked abuses. Fiji will not accept short-term or selfish solutions. We will lead –– in word and action –– to secure a future for all life on the planet. 

“We spoke at length about the vital importance of the health of our oceans, and how Fiji and the UN can more actively collaborate to use our seas as a component of sustainable development. By doing so, we can combat climate change, protect Pacific livelihoods, culture and heritage, and leave a lasting legacy for the recently-departed Fijian Ambassador to the United Nations, Satya Nandan, who was a pioneer for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. 

“We were glad to see His Excellency share Fiji’s urgency for addressing the climate emergency. As he knows, Fiji and our fellow Pacific Island nations are already seeing devastating climate impacts. It’s clear it will require much deeper international cooperation to build our resilience to the severe storms, rising seas and changing weather patterns at our doorsteps. On the mitigation front, 2020 is a defining year. The clock is ticking until COP26 –– where it is absolutely imperative we see more ambitious commitments towards a net-zero future, zero excuses. 

“But it’s also important we realise that climate change and economic growth are not mutually exclusive. His Excellency put it best at COP25, where he said that “Climate action is not a philanthropic endeavour; it is also a means to boost economic growth, to create jobs and to improve livelihoods worldwide.” We look forward to working with the UN to continue to carry that message, and allowing Fiji to serve as a case study in well-balanced, sustainable development in a world where the economy and the climate can both come first.

“Fiji is prepared to lead by example in building a world as it should be; resilient, vibrant, inclusive and sustainable. We’re making great strides towards the 2030 Agenda, putting more women in our schools, vastly expanding our network of social welfare, decentralising key government services across the country, and incubating innovative climate-resilient solutions. But -- like our neighbours across the Pacific -- the full implementation of the SDGs is less a question of political will than it is of finances, and I’ve carried our message to His Excellency to help fill the financial gap separating vulnerable economies from realising the 2030 Agenda,” said Sayed Khaiyum.


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