Diplomacy

PM calls for assistance from UNESCAP members

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has called on members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to implement global initiatives in a collaborative and concerted manner.   PM Bainimarama during the 72nd session of the UNESCAP in Bangkok said they need immediate access to avenues of funding for climate […]

Peni Shute

May 18, 2016 8:49 am

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has called on members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to implement global initiatives in a collaborative and concerted manner.  

PM Voreqe Bainimarama at the 72nd session of the UNESCAP Commission in Bangkok. (DEPTFO)
PM Voreqe Bainimarama at the 72nd session of the UNESCAP Commission in Bangkok. (DEPTFO)

PM Bainimarama during the 72nd session of the UNESCAP in Bangkok said they need immediate access to avenues of funding for climate adaptation to build the resilience they must build to survive future events which are stronger homes and stronger infrastructure.

BAINIMARAMA: “Countries like Fiji have little or no hope of achieving their Sustainable Development Goals without the urgent assistance of the global community.”

“We need immediate access to avenues of funding for climate adaptation – to build the resilience we must build to survive future events. Stronger homes, stronger infrastructure. And I urge you all to persuade your governments to place this at the top of the regional and global agenda.”

“I call for these impediments to be lifted as a matter of the utmost urgency. Because we know a repetition of Cyclone Winston is just around the corner and we need to be better prepared. As it was, we were only just recovering from the previous event three years ago, Cyclone Evan, when Winston struck. So I appeal to you all on behalf of the citizens of all small and vulnerable nations to give finance for climate adaptation the priority it deserves.”

The Prime Minister said history will judge the industrial nations very harshly if they leave small and vulnerable nations to their fate without extending the appropriate helping hand.

BAINIMARAMA: “Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, history will judge the industrial nations very harshly if they leave small and vulnerable nations to their fate without extending the appropriate helping hand. We have not caused global warming. They have. And they must use a portion of the wealth they have derived from the carbon emissions of their industries to assist those of us who aren’t as wealthy as they are and are bearing the brunt of the crisis they created.”

PM Bainimarama said Fiji urgently needs to access avenues of finance to build its own resilience.

“Fiji urgently needs to access avenues of finance to build our own resilience. Yet some of these avenues have been closed off to us because we have been officially designated a middle-income nation. In a very real sense, we are being punished for our success just when we need this funding most.”

“We have been left with a total damage bill estimated by the World Bank at around 1.4 billion US dollars. And we are not alone.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minster Voreqe Bainimarama updated the Executive Secretary for UNESCAP, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar on the economic impact of Cyclone Winston and on Fiji’s recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of the cyclone.

Prime Minster Voreqe Bainimarama with the Executive Secretary for UNESCAP, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar.
Prime Minster Voreqe Bainimarama with the Executive Secretary for UNESCAP, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar.

He also called for greater collaboration with UNESCAP in the areas of disaster risk reduction, building economic resilience and obtaining detailed data and statistics to measure the progress of climate adaptation measures.

In their very warm and cordial discussions, the Prime Minister also reiterated the Fijian Government’s initiative on the establishment of a climate change centre in Fiji to provide practical training and capacity building for small and vulnerable states.

He said Fiji looked forward to working together with UNESCAP towards the establishment of such a centre for which Fiji will provide resources.

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