Fijians remain priority for PM as UNICEF releases alarming figures
December 8, 2019 8:18 am
Fijians will remain at the forefront of government’s work to fight climate change says, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
This comes as the latest figures show that around 503 million children now live in areas at extremely high risk of floods due to extreme weather events such as cyclones, hurricanes and storms, as well as rising sea levels.
UNICEF says investments in disaster risk reduction, such as early warning systems can help prepare communities to protect children during extreme weather events.
Speaking at COP 25 in Spain, Bainimarama says the catastrophic events related to climate change are evident in Fiji but they will continue to help the young generation.
“We’re building schools, hospitals, and public infrastructure to withstand tropical cyclones, so our communities are protected as these storms become more frequent and more intense. We’re relocating vulnerable communities and infrastructure to escape rising seas.”
UNICEF says toxic air – caused largely by carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases – has grave consequences for young children, contributing to the deaths of around 600,000 children under-five every year due to pneumonia and other respiratory problems.
Something which the Bainimarama government is working on.
“Progress isn’t only about meeting global commitments. It is, quite simply, about making it better to be a Fijian. Our bodies are healthier when we breathe cleaner air; our air is cleaner when our electricity comes from the sun, and other renewable sources and cars run on more efficient fuel; our communities and ecosystems are safer and more vibrant when we re-plant trees and mangroves and recover our reefs; and our children enjoy greater security in schools built to higher standards.”
Fiji is amongst those nations that have openly stated the desire for world leaders to start taking notice of climate change.
While most have been turning a blind eye towards the plight of Fiji and the Pacific, Bainimarama says his government will continue to do the best for its people.
“In Fiji, we are spearheading a new paradigm of prosperity; growing our economy while also ensuring our natural ecosystems can provide Fijians with healthy air, nutritious food, and protection from storms.”
COP 25 continues in Spain with Bainimarama to hold numerous meetings with leaders from around the world in the coming week.