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Climate Change resilience tops Commonwealth talks

April 24, 2016 5:49 am

The pressing need to build climate resilience in Fiji and other Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) has been the focus of talks in New York between the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland.

The two met at the Fiji Permanent Mission to the United Nations to discuss a range of development issues, especially the threat to the PSIDS countries from rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

The Prime Minister briefed the Secretary-General on the impact of Tropical Cyclone Winston and she undertook to promote the Government’s “Adopt A School" program in Commonwealth circles. Baroness Scotland said she was encouraged by the resilience of the Fijian people as they recovered from TC Winston.

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The Prime Minister stressed that climate change posed the single biggest development challenge to Fiji and the other PSIDS nations and he asked Baroness Scotland to use the Commonwealth’s influence to help them gain better access to climate finance.

The Secretary-General assured the Prime Minister that under her leadership, the Commonwealth would continue to focus on the development interests of all its small and vulnerable members.

The meeting also canvassed the United Nations Oceans Conference to be held in Fiji in June 2017, at which the global community will discuss the sustainable use of the world’s ocean resources.

In addition, The Prime Minister thanked the Secretary-General for the Commonwealth’s support for the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and said he hoped this would continue under Baroness Scotland’s tenure. He said the Commonwealth’s collaboration with the PIDF, particularly on the Blue Ocean Economy, would further enhance the effectiveness of the Commonwealth in the Pacific Islands.

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