Prime Minister Bainimarama of Fiji speaking at the pre-COP23 meeting in Nadi, Fiji (photo: UNISDR)
By Andy McElroy
NADI, Fiji, 17 October 2017
– The Prime Minister of Fiji and the incoming COP23 President, Mr. Vorege Bainone, is hosting a pre-COP23 meeting to galvanise action on climate change and disaster risk.
“We have the power and the means to bring the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to life, so let’s do it,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said. “We are all vulnerable and in this together and as such we need to act as one.”
Prime Minister Bainimarama is the incoming President of the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23), which will meet in Bonn, Germany, 6-17 November 2017.
As part of preparations for the Bonn meeting, the Government of Fiji is hosting a Pre-COP 23 in Nadi so that governments and stakeholders can finalize their preparations to scale up action on climate resilience.
The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Ms. Amina Mohammed echoed Prime Minister Bainimarama’s call for more action on climate resilience and referenced increasingly strong engagement from the private sector and local governments.
She said the Paris Agreement along with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction were all “landmark agreements that must be implemented together”.
“Extreme weather events show in graphic detail the risk we all face if action, ambition and commitment are not all raised to meet the challenge of climate change,” the Deputy Secretary-General said.
“Small islands are among the first and worst affected by the climate peril. Their vulnerability to recurrent, more frequent and more intense severe weather events has continued to mount. To mention just the most recent examples, Hurricanes Irma and Maria have brought horrific personal and economic misery to people in the Caribbean, Central America and United States.
“In short, we need all hands on deck and far better coherence between all sectors of society at all levels, internationally, nationally and at the local level. We can build a better world for all: a world of peace, prosperity, dignity and opportunity, free from the fear of catastrophic climate change.”
California Governor and COP23 Special Envoy to States and Regions Mr. Jerry Brown was due to attend but the current wild fire disaster in his state has seen him remain to coordinate response efforts. In a video address Governor Brown told the Pre-COP: “Forest fires and extreme weather clearly show that climate change is a huge existential challenge and we need to do more.”
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNISDR, Mr. Robert Glasser, will be at the COP 23 in Bonn emphasizing the alignment of the Sendai Framework with the Paris Agreement in terms of strengthening climate and disaster resilience.