Diplomacy

Fiji to chair top ADB regional meeting

Fiji will chair the 27th Governor’s Meeting of the Pacific Developing Member Countries of the Asian Development Bank when the ADB holds its next annual gathering in Japan next year. The position of chair will be assumed by the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who has been attending the current 26th PDMC Governor’s […]

DEPTFO

May 4, 2016 7:17 am

Fiji will chair the 27th Governor’s Meeting of the Pacific Developing Member Countries of the Asian Development Bank when the ADB holds its next annual gathering in Japan next year.

Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, attending the current 26th PDMC Governor’s Meeting in Frankfurt, Germany.(DEPTFO)
Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, attending the current 26th PDMC Governor’s Meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. (DEPTFO)

The position of chair will be assumed by the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who has been attending the current 26th PDMC Governor’s Meeting in Frankfurt, Germany.

The AG led a discussion by finance ministers of the ADB Pacific Member Countries on how they can gain better access to finance to build their resilience to the extreme weather events and rising sea levels caused by climate change.

The AG stressed the need for climate financing to be mainstreamed into all development financing including national budgets. And he said that because extreme weather events were likely to be more frequent and more intense, it was vital that all future infrastructure investments in the region be climate resilient.

The AG called for Pacific Island countries to collaborate on formulating bankable projects to build resilience and access funding. He said that because island nations were relatively small and had limited economic bases, they needed to work closely together to confront the challenge of climate change. And this could be achieved by countries with similar economic needs collaborating on a regional or sub-regional basis.

There was a general consensus among the Pacific delegates that Fiji’s proposal was the appropriate way forward and the AG will chair the PDMC’s next gathering during the 50th ADB annual meeting in Yokohama, Japan, in 2017.

Fiji has outlined its needs and priorities in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston at a meeting between the Attorney General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Takehiko Nakao.

The Attorney-General Mr Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in his meeting with the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Takehiko Nakao.(DEPTFO)
The Attorney-General Mr Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in his meeting with the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Takehiko Nakao. (DEPTFO)

The AG gave Mr Nakao a detailed briefing on the Winston recovery and rebuilding effort when the two men held talks during the 49th ADB annual meeting, which is being held in Frankfurt, Germany.

He highlighted three areas that the Government was especially targeting to assist the Fijian people – the restoration of electricity and water, the repair and rebuilding of homes that had been damaged or destroyed and the reconstruction of schools, health centres and other public infrastructure.

He made special mention of the Government’s “Help for Homes” initiative and the “Adopt a School” programme as practical measures designed to help the Fijian people get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

The AG said the overriding lesson from Winston was that Fiji and other small and vulnerable states needed to be much better prepared for the extreme weather events and rising sea levels associated with climate change.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: “The devastation we have suffered from Cyclone Winston demonstrates the absolute need for any future investment in infrastructure to be climate resilient.”

In their discussion about the vulnerability assessment by the ADB of Pacific Island Countries (‘PICs’), the AG stressed the extreme vulnerability of the PICs to climate change.

SAYED-KHAIYUM:: “We are all relatively small with narrow economic bases. And we are confronting an era in which a single climatic event can decimate our entire economies and wind back our hard won development gains for decades.”

The AG said it was imperative for Fiji and other small and vulnerable nations to be able to gain easier and more equitable access to finance to enable them to build climate resilience and future proof their economies.

For his part, the ADB President conveyed his condolences to the Fijian people for the 44 lives lost during Cyclone Winston and the trail of devastation in affected communities.

During the talks, the AG also highlighted initiatives that the Government is undertaking to enhance the development of the financial sector, particularly the domestic securities market in Fiji. The AG said that with a well-regulated and transparent sector, Fiji was well-placed to be the hub of the Pacific for financial market-related transactions.

The AG requested ADB assistance to further develop the small and micro enterprise sector, which he said was a key priority of the Fijian Government. He said a flourishing small and micro enterprise sector would not only ensure sustained incomes for those directly involved and promote job creation and security but would also generate wider economic prosperity and growth.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.