Fiji’s PRUN Ambassador urged policymakers at every level to make it a priority to keep global warming below 1.5°C. Meanwhile, Fiji launched the UK Pacific Climate Change Photography Exhibition.
Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad, likens the natural catastrophes in the country and the people having to flee their homes to live in a conflict zone.
Speaking at the Global Shifts Colloquium in New York, titled “Islands on the Climate Front Line: Risk and Resilience,” Ambassador Prasad says the feeling of climate change is a feeling of war.
“It feels as if you have declared war on us, on our right to exist as sovereign, autonomous, independent states. Being forced in time to choose to relocate. “
He said it is not some distant challenge for Fiji, but one it faces right now.
Ambassador Prasad urged policymakers at every level to make it a priority to keep global warming below 1.5°C.
The one-day event featured roundtable discussions with island ambassadors to the United Nations as well as climate activists from around the world.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Ambassador for Climate Change, Kay Harrison, met with the Fijian Attorney-General and Minister responsible for Climate Change, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, on her first dedicated climate change visit to the Pacific.
During the meeting, Ambassador Harrison expressed New Zealand’s intention to assist Fiji in accessing climate finance – particularly through their newly announced climate aid contribution of NZ$1.3 billion (US$850 million) over four years to support countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
She also conveyed her gratitude towards Fiji’s great leadership in the climate change space through years of strong commitment and delivery, emphasising Fiji’s groundbreaking climate change legislation – the Climate Change Act.
The A-G highlighted Fiji’s heightened vulnerability to climate change and the recent mitigation and adaptation strategies undertaken by the Fijian Government – including the construction of climate-resilient infrastructure such as underground cabling.
He also emphasised the importance of accessing affordable climate finance and the support of bilateral partners, such as New Zealand, to assist Fiji in delivering its climate change commitments.
In another development, Minister responsible for Climate Change, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum also, launched the UK Pacific Climate Change Photography Exhibition at the Sofitel Fiji Resort in Nadi.
The event which was held for the first time in the Western Division featured over 60 top photos from a wide range of photographers from the Pacific, as young as 9 years old.
The British High Commissioner to Fiji, Dr Brian Jones, reaffirmed UK’s support to the Pacific, and in particular to Fiji, in combatting the impacts of Climate Change.
The A-G had side discussions with several youths, academia, private entrepreneurs and the tourism sector on potential partnerships and collaboration.
Submissions were made under the categories of Marine, Land, People, Youth (under 21) and Junior (ages 12 and under).
The winners include:
Junior – Maxim Va’s (Samoa)
Youth – Raynesh Charan (Fiji)
Marine – Jovesa Naisua (Fiji)
People – Edward Takanunu Manuga (Solomon Island)
Land – Jacqui Shipp (Fiji)