New And Noteworthy...


Wednesday, September 30, 2015
New York

Wednesday 30 September, 2015

The President of the General Assembly,
The Secretary General of the United Nations,
Distinguished Delegates,

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

Mr President,
I would like to add my congratulations on your election to those of the national leaders who have spoken before me. I wish you all success in guiding this 70th Session to a productive and meaningful conclusion. I also want to thank His Excellency Mr Sam Kutesa for his outstanding leadership during the 69th session.

Mr President,
Last year I spoke before this assembly on the heels of an election victory in Fiji. I said that Fiji was now a fairer, more just and compassionate society, and that we would accelerate our efforts to alleviate poverty thanks to a rapidly strengthening economy. I am proud to assure you today that our democracy is working, our economy is growing and we are gradually lifting more people out of poverty every day. It is not an experiment; it is a very real and revolutionary change in the way we Fijians govern ourselves and treat one another.

I will not tell you that it has been easy, because it has not. But we have had one year of the give-and-take of parliamentary democracy based on a common and equal citizenry – under a Constitution that values each Fijian equally, regardless of ethnicity, birthright, faith, gender, social condition or geography. This is a first. In the past, we had elections; today, we have elections that do not produce the tyranny of the majority.

Times have sometimes been raucous as we battle over ideas and exchange charges on the floor of Parliament, in the media and before the public. Democracy sometimes seems messy and chaotic and prone to petty squabbles, but it is a price we Fijians gladly pay for the chance to enjoy democracy’s many blessings.

As is natural, our society is now also more compassionate and our economy more robust. We have carried out wide-ranging social and economic reforms designed to free the energies of our people, encourage investment, create employment and lift up the poor and marginalized in Fiji.

We have introduced free schooling at the primary and secondary level for the first time and made great efforts to bring the benefits of government programs, technology and the modern market to people in remote and under-served areas of the country. Infrastructure development – roads, electricity, water and healthcare are our priorities.

Results have been encouraging. Our economy has grown at more than four percent for the last three years, including a rate of more than 5.3% in 2014. National and international economic experts expect us to meet or exceed that figure this year. Investment – particularly domestic investment – is booming. Construction is up, tourism is up, we have a healthy surplus in foreign exchange reserves, and job openings have increased substantially. This shows that Fijians are confident. They believe in themselves, they believe in our democracy, and they believe in our country’s future. This is the most sustained period of economic growth in our history, and it is part of a revolution of initiative and energy directly linked to our new democracy.

Mr President,
Dedication to basic human rights is the foundation of democracy. No democracy can survive if the rights of each person are not sacred, if the state fails to protect – or even works to undermine – the individual’s ability to think and believe and worship as he or she chooses. No democracy can survive if elections only mean that the winners take all. No democracy can survive if it does not enshrine human dignity as a right and make its best efforts to provide socio-economic rights as provided for in our Constitution.

We have made believers out of people who once doubted and criticized us. We have overcome sanctions and isolation that were imposed by other democratic nations in the mistaken belief that they would push us to democracy. In fact, we needed no push. We were already committed to that path. We needed engagement and support, and I am pleased to say that we have it again at last. It is clear that we have fashioned our democracy on dedication to the rights and dignity of each person in Fiji, and we bring that dedication to our work in the United Nations.

Mr President,
Since Fiji established its Mission in Geneva last year, my Government has worked energetically with the human rights community. Earlier this year, I addressed the Human Rights Council in Geneva, outlining Fiji’s human rights priorities, particularly as they relate to our progressive Bill of Rights in the 2013 Fijian Constitution. Fijians now enjoy an unprecedented level of protection, enforced through an independent judiciary and a Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission. I have invited a number of Special mandate holders under the Human Rights Council to visit Fiji, and I am pleased that the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education will visit Fiji within a year to assess and support my Government’s efforts to strengthen the right to education.

Fiji has also committed to ratifying the core human rights instruments in the not so distant future. This is a solemn commitment that flows naturally from our basic belief that all Fijians have the right live with dignity. We understand that this will carry additional obligations toward our own people, obligations we are eager to take on.

As we participate in the Human Rights Council, we find yet again that the voice and the unique concerns of the Pacific Small Island Developing States have trouble being heard. We have a unique perspective of the world to share with the international human rights community. This includes calling attention to the detrimental effect that climate change is having on our ability to extend and strengthen human rights in the region. It also includes educating others to the challenges many of us face in creating proper institutions and changing long-held cultural attitudes that can be obstacles to full respect for human rights. These are issues that Fiji will continue to bring forward now, and as a Member of the Human Rights Council for the term 2018-2020 if we are elected.

Mr President,
Like our neighbours in the South Pacific and other Small Island Developing States, we see the bright future we have charted for ourselves dimmed by the prospect of climate change and sea-level rise. Fiji has been outspoken in insisting that all nations do their duty to reduce carbon emissions and control the production of greenhouse gases. Fiji is making strenuous efforts to do its part, but our part in creating this crisis is very small, practically negligible. The major developed nations and – I must say it – the major developing nations as well – must do more.

It is simply not acceptable for advanced economies to build a high standard of living on the degradation of the earth and the seas. And it is also not acceptable for major nations that are industrialising to assert that they need to degrade the earth, the air and the seas in order to build their economies, just as the advanced countries did years ago. The emergency is now. The solution must be now. The time for excuses is over.

Earlier this month, the Pacific Leaders at the Third Summit of the Pacific Island Development Forum adopted the Suva Declaration on Climate Change. This landmark declaration clearly sets out the agreed demands of the Pacific Island Developing States for an acceptable outcome at the UN Climate Conference in Paris later this year.

The Suva Declaration calls for the 2015 Climate Change Agreement to limit global average temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. It calls for the Paris agreement to be legally binding on all parties, and for it to recognise loss and damage as a stand-alone element. We also call for Climate Change adaptation measures to be 100% grant financed.

The choices we face may be politically difficult in the short run, but the consequences we are already seeing – environmental degradation, unbearable heat, drought, powerful tropical storms and unpredictable weather patterns – are simply unacceptable. We are elected as leaders, and leaders must be able to explain these consequences to their people and convince them to make the necessary short-term sacrifices for everyone’s benefit.

These consequences are real for Fiji and its neighbours. We have plans to move some 45 villages to higher ground, and we have already started. And we have committed to resettle people from other, low-lying, South Pacific island states that face the prospect of being swallowed up by the rising ocean and falling inexorably to oblivion. Should that happen, the people of those island states would be refugees as desperate and lost as the hundreds of thousands fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq.

It is very real. And it is happening now. And it is time to shed our indifference.

Mr President,
Fiji particularly welcomes the establishment of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the conservation and sustainable management of oceans and seas. Our destiny is shaped by the ocean in which we are set. But we also welcome it as citizens of this earth, because the health of the oceans and seas is vital for everyone.

In the Pacific Ocean, for too long now we have observed the decline in our ocean's health, as evidenced by dying coral, marine pollution, damaged coastal ecosystems, declining fish-stocks and ocean acidification. Those of us who are old enough to remember our ocean in much healthier times must do more than lament that our grandchildren may never see the ocean as it was created. We must do all we can to make sure that they know the ocean as it was when our forebears bequeathed it to us.

As a founding member of the UN's Group of Friends of Oceans & Seas, Fiji has been working to establish a high-level global platform to ensure that we meet SDG14. I am proud to say that we have found a strong ally in the Government of Sweden to establish the Triennial UN Conferences on Oceans & Seas, with five international conferences spanning the fifteen years of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

These will be conferences for action, not talk. Governments, international organisations, scientists, business leaders and others will gather at the five conferences to assess progress and hold all participants accountable for meeting targets. We will host the Triennial Conference in Fiji in June 2017, and all those dedicated to the integrity of implementation of the Oceans Goal will be welcome.

Mr President,
We Fijians do not ask others to do what we are unwilling to do. We are a nation that stands up. We stand up for peace. We stand up for our neighbours. And we stand up for the environment.

And so we held our first national Green Growth Summit in Fiji only a couple of months before I appeared before you last year. In that short time, Fiji developed and has begun implementing its own Green Growth Framework — a master plan for an economic model that is more holistic, integrated, inclusive and – above all – sustainable. Our framework links economic growth and environmental protection and builds an economy that grows in a more intelligent way and nurtures the interests of all our citizens.

No project will proceed if it is not sustainable or if it jeopardises our natural resources in any way. We hold our resources in trust for future generations, and we will not squander them for short-term economic gain. We will continue to grow and develop and modernise, but we will embrace a future in which our forests, our mangroves, our coral reefs and our marine life thrive. If everyone does the same with their part of the world, large or small, we may have a chance to save this planet.

Mr President,
I believe that Fiji’s commitment to the United Nations as an institution and to the work of the United Nations is second to none. Our contributions to worldwide peacekeeping are a matter of national pride, honour and commitment. Today, Fijian military, police and correctional officers are actively engaged in UN peacekeeping missions in Iraq, the Golan Heights, Lebanon, Darfur and South Sudan as well as in the Multinational Forces in Sinai. We are also proud to now be serving in the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation, headquartered in Jerusalem.

This national mission of ours -- to work with other nations to bring peace to the world -- has become a part of our national identity. It involves great sacrifice on the part of many Fijian families, and of course, it is dangerous work that has resulted in tragic loss of life. But I bring to you today the solemn will of the Fijian people to continue to serve the cause of peace through the United Nations wherever the UN is called to heal the wounds of strife and war.

Mr President,
Fiji has been a member of the United Nations since her Independence in October 1970. Since that time Fiji’s leaders have attended the General Assembly every year to play our part in this great global gathering. Every year we have been wisely guided by a President of the General Assembly hailing from one of our fellow Member States, but never by a President from the Pacific Islands Developing States.

We believe the time has come for the Pacific Islands to provide the Assembly’s President, and we have put forward a candidate for the Assembly’s 71st Session. Our candidate, duly submitted to the Asia-Pacific Group, is currently Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson. He is a seasoned diplomat who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in service to the United Nations. Fiji looks to the friends of the Pacific Islands here at the United Nations to give their support to our candidate for the President of the Assembly’s 71st Session.

Mr President,
Fiji commits fully to the work of the United Nations during your stewardship of the 70th session of the General Assembly. I pledge to you our full support and cooperation as you carry out the responsibilities that lie before you. This body holds the promise of elevating human beings from poverty and degradation to health and hope, from conflict and fear to peace, and from an effort to tame our environment to a commitment to live in harmony with it. Fiji will be with you this year, and we will be with our fellow nations until we realize that promise.

Vinaka vakalevu.
Thank you.


Monday, September 14, 2015
Suva, Fiji


• Madam Speaker
• The Honourable Chief Justice and Members of the Judiciary
• The Honourable Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers
• The Honourable Leader of the Opposition
• Honourable Members of Parliament
• Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps
• Distinguished Guests
• Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning, ni sa bula vinaka, salaam alaykum, namaste

A year ago, we gathered together as a nation to mark a momentous occasion - the launch of our new democracy.

44-years after independence, Fiji finally held a General Election based on the genuine democratic principle of equal votes of equal value. And the Fijian people chose the fifty members of our new Parliament – to represent them and serve them until the next election in 2018.

That election was declared credible and free by a multi-national observer group of 20 countries led by three of the world’s most vibrant democracies – India, the largest democracy in the world, Indonesia and Australia. So the result cannot be questioned. It represented the genuine will of the Fijian people freely expressed in a process run so well by the Fijian Elections Office and the Supervisor of Elections that Fiji is now monitoring the elections of other nations and being used as a benchmark.

As your President and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, I have a very important message for the whole nation today. The Fijian people spoke at the General Election on 17 September, 2014. They demonstrated their passionate desire to exercise their democratic right with a remarkable election turnout of 84.6 percent and invalid votes of only 0.75 percent. If you compare these figures to the previous Elections in 2006, it is more remarkable since voting was compulsory in 2006 but the voter turnout was 64 percent and invalid votes of 6.4 percent.

When Fijians voted in 2014, they chose the current FijiFirst Government by a margin of almost 60 percent. Today, Government occupies 32 seats, SODELPA – 15 and National Federation Party – 3, in this august Parliament.

That decision by the Fijian voters was decisive, unambiguous and must be respected. The Government will serve its term and then subject itself to the will of the people – as our Constitution provides – some time in 2018. That is what will happen under our supreme law and no other course of action is lawful or acceptable. Neither will it, nor should it, be tolerated.

The current attempts by a small minority to set up an alternative state – a so called Christian State - or to overthrow the current Government are unlawful and contrary to the national interest. They are an assault on democracy, attempts to overturn the will of the people freely expressed almost a year ago and are disruptive to economic stability. They cannot be condoned under any circumstances.

Such actions must be publicly condemned, in particular given our political history, in no uncertain terms. Such actions and any such proposed actions must be emphatically condemned by all those who truly adhere to and believe in the democratic principles upon which our Government, this Parliament and our new Fijian State is built upon.

If we fail to condemn such actions, in particular if members of this august Parliament fail to do so, it will cast doubts upon you – it will cast doubts about whether you believe in and truly subscribe to the fundamental democratic principles upon which our modern nation state is founded upon.

I repeat. There is no justification whatsoever to defy the will of the Fijian people. And especially on the spurious grounds that have been advanced by the supporters of these insurrections, who attempt to justify their illegal behavior on religious or ethnic grounds. And those who subvert the national interest – who try to thwart the will of the Fijian people – must be and will be subjected to the full force of the law.

As your Head of State – a figure above politics - I call on every Fijian to rally to the defense of the democratic process and the right of every Fijian to practice their rights. And as Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, I believe the RFMF must wherever and whenever required, support the police in bringing to justice those who want to destroy democracy and impose their will on others. It is your constitutional duty to do so as the ultimate guarantors of the security of the Fijian nation.

I also call on all Honourable Members of this House to support democracy and not give comfort to those who wish to subvert the democratic process. You have sworn the most solemn of oaths or affirmed your allegiance to protect and defend democracy and have a sacred and unbreakable trust with god and the Fijian people to uphold that oath or affirmation.

To those Fijians outside this Parliament who are being swayed by the enemies of democracy who are using communal divisions, in other words, ethnicity, race and religion to gain political power, let me say this to them: there is no threat to your religion, identity or culture or your rights. Your rights are protected in our Constitution for all time. Have you lost your culture, your identity, your religion, your land since the promulgation of our Constitution? Or since the FijiFirst Government was elected? The answer is an emphatic no. The Constitution is your safeguard. Indeed the Constitution governs and will govern all governments. It defines the perimeters within which all governments can act.

Madam Speaker, the Honourable Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Our new democracy was built on the most solid of foundations – a Constitution that for the first time, guarantees equality for every Fijian. And also provides for a range of social and economic rights that are unprecedented in our history.

I was extremely proud and privileged – as your President – to have been instrumental in bringing this Constitution into being, to give it my assent as Head of State and formally establish it as our supreme law. Because by any international standard, it meets the test of providing a framework for genuine democracy and genuine opportunity for all. Indeed our Constitution has been internationally lauded and critically acclaimed.

Translating the Constitution into the iTaukei and Fiji Hindi languages and producing a version in braille has made our supreme law accessible to everyone. And when you read it, you can easily discover for yourself the truth. So I urge everyone who has not already done so to do so.

I took a particular interest as President in the wide-spread public consultations and the formulation of our Constitution prior to its promulgation. It is regarded as one of the best in the world. Its principles are unassailable – the foundation of all the world’s great democracies. Equality of opportunity for every citizen. The rights of every citizen protected. And I therefore fully endorse my Government’s decision to celebrate Constitution Day as a national holiday every year to enable us all to reflect on the benefits it offers every Fijian.

The Constitution provides for a range of social and economic rights that are unprecedented in our history. It contains a bill of rights which guarantees a range of rights including the right to education, economic participation, transport, housing, food and water, health and social security for all Fijians. It recognizes and protects the unique culture, customs, traditions and language of the indigenous itaukei and Rotuman people. It recognizes common and equally citizenry, and that regardless of our ancestry, ethnicity or religious beliefs – we are all Fijians. The day on which the Constitution came into force should be remembered and celebrated. Our celebrations must include educating our citizens of the intricacies of the Constitution so we and the future generations will understand how to benefit from it and learn to uphold it as patriotic citizens.

We must all be committed to celebrating Constitution Day.

Madam Speaker, the Honourable Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Last year, I urged you all to think beyond your parochial interests of ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status or wherever you come from in Fiji. And to join hands to work together to move our beloved nation forward. I also cautioned that if you did not, it would be to our ultimate peril as a nation-state. And I am deeply saddened that twelve months on, some appear more intent on promoting division than promoting national unity. It would appear they cannot relinquish the politics of the past, the politics of viewing everything from a communal and parochial perspective rather than as a Fijian leader who puts the country and people first. A leader who thinks about the future, a leader who assesses issues holistically not for now, not just to simply make a political point that will look good for one day or get the newspaper headline the next morning.

It is also inexcusable to peddle false information to create fear among ordinary people. It is inexcusable to attempt to bring our highest offices of State into disrepute, especially with crude smears. It is inexcusable to undermine the Fijian economy just for political gain. So I ask you all to put the honour back into honourable in carrying out your duties as Members of Parliament. To raise the tone of the forthcoming session and to lead the nation by example. To talk about our country and our economy in a responsible manner.

You must talk about your country first and not yourself. To debate, by all means, and wage a battle of ideas because that is the function of Parliament. But to do so with civility, humility and with national unity, national interest and the common good always at the forefront of your minds. And to do so also with intellectual honesty. To know that an idea is better than yours, to know that an action or policy is going to be for the benefit of the country in the long term and to still debunk them, is also intellectual dishonesty. Without honesty and humility on all fronts we will never progress as a nation, as leaders and as individuals.

Madam Speaker, the Honourable Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Growing the economy and embedding investor confidence in the economy must be every single leader’s objective. We must take a national approach. Our economy has recorded a 5.3 percent increase in growth for 2014. We have had sustained and unprecedented economic growth rates in excess of 4 percent for over 3 years. We must as a nation capitalize on this trajectory.

There is no doubt my Government’s policies and initiatives and economic reforms are paying dividends. But we cannot rest on this. We must take it to the next step. It requires focus and hard work from all. It requires a commitment to this national goal from both sides of this Parliament. We no longer can afford to debunk or run down the economy for political expediency or to score political points. Building a strong economy requires confidence building measures by the nation as a whole.

Economic growth means improved lives for all. It means prosperity for all and it means a brighter future for all Fijians. All great countries that today we look up to have invested large amounts of monies into their infrastructure. Proper infrastructure capacity leads to economic opportunities and economic success. This is what my Government is doing, building infrastructure to invest in our future.

Many of the great countries that have built their capacity in infrastructure have done so, and some today are doing so, by borrowing to build for the future. Therefore, in talking about the economy and debating about the economy in a responsible manner, we need to remember that borrowing or acquiring debt is not necessarily a negative thing. Debt if properly managed is good if you borrow to build for and invest in the future.

Madam Speaker, the Honourable Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I have made it my number one priority as President to engage with our young people. I have made a point of visiting almost every school in Fiji. And I can tell you that the younger generation has no interest in listening to the voices of division and fear mongering. They want stability and the opportunity to carve out worthwhile lives for themselves and each other. They want to build one Fiji. They do not want politicians of the old, they want politicians and leaders who talk about the issues and act upon them. They think and want the future. They want better services, amenities, access to technology and career paths. And we must work together as leaders, as a nation to give them the future they deserve.

Madam Speaker, the Honourable Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is also my duty today - as Head of State – to outline the Government’s legislative program for the coming session. It opens up new areas of investment and opportunity as the Government continues to pursue the vision I outlined last year - the development of Fiji as a modern nation state, taking a pre-eminent role in our own region and strengthening our voice and presence in the global community at large.

The legislative programme for this parliamentary session will be even more extensive than the previous year, with the introduction of new laws. Some of these new laws will be in the following areas:

• Code of Conduct for Public Office Holders;
• Freedom Of Information;
• National Switch;
• Public Health Protection;
• Consumer Protection;
• Security Credit Transactions;
• Disabled Persons;
• Child Care and Protection;
• Community Based Corrections;
• Child Justice;
• Adoption;
• Volatile Substance Abuse;
• Trade-marks and Industrial Designs;
• Aquaculture;
• Sugar Industry; and
• Kava.

As part of its legislative programme for the coming session, Parliament will also substantially review a number of existing laws. These will include the:

• Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act;
• Public Enterprises Act;
• Public Service Act;
• Land Transport Act;
• Police Act;
• Mining Act;
• Consumer Credit Act; and
• Financial Management Act.

Madam Speaker, the Honourable Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

This is my last opportunity as President to address you in the Parliament before my term in office comes to an end in November. I have had the great privilege and honour to serve the nation and the Fijian people in a variety of roles over the years – as Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, as an Ambassador, as a Permanent Secretary, as a Speaker of the House of Representatives and as a Minister.

And as your President, I have had the privilege of presiding over the greatest period of Fiji’s substantial economic growth, focused investment in infrastructure for the future and of course the promulgation of our Constitution. So permit me – in the people’s Parliament – to make some personal reflections on what it means to serve the people.

The requirements for public life are very simple: patriotism which means love for your country. Empathy and consideration for others which means love for your fellow human being. A sense of spirituality and acknowledgement of a higher authority which means a personal relationship with and love for God without imposing it on others. The pursuit of excellence which means a desire to do the best possible job. These values combined with the universal qualities of integrity, honesty, humility and honour have always been the required hallmarks and have stood the test of time.

Those of us in public life must lead by example and especially when you are elected to Parliament. The people have put their trust in you to represent their interests. And while you have a responsibility to your political goal, you have a greater responsibility to the nation as a whole. We need to take a united approach to the development of our nation and to ensure that the best interests of the nation are at the forefront of public actions and decisions.

Madam Speaker, the Honourable Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It has been a great privilege for me to serve the nation and I acknowledge and thank the Honourable Prime Minister and his then Cabinet for showing confidence in me and recommending my appointment as the President of Republic of Fiji six years ago.

I will leave office in November confident that great days lie ahead for every Fijian if we continue on the current path of governance, national philosophy and economic growth.

It is now my honour to declare the 2015 Parliament session officially open.

May God bless you all. May God bless Fiji.

Thank you, vinaka vakalevu, sukria, bahoot dhanyavaad.


Suva Declaration on Climate Change

Friday, September 4, 2015
Suva, Fiji


We, the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Development Forum following open, transparent and inclusive discussions with stakeholders undertaken during the Pacific Islands Development Forum Third Annual Summit held in Suva, Fiji between 2-4 September 2015 declare that we:

1. Are gravely distressed that climate change poses irreversible loss and damage to our people, societies, livelihoods, and natural environments; creating existential threats to our very survival and other violations of human rights to entire Pacific Small Island Developing States;
2. Express profound concern that the scientific evidence unequivocally proves that the climate system is warming and that human influence on the climate system is clear, but appropriate responses are lacking;
3. See and suffer from the adverse impacts of climate change, including but not limited to increased intensity of tropical cyclones, sea level rise, severe storm surges, more frequent and more extreme weather events, coral bleaching, saltwater intrusions, higher king tides, coastal erosion, changing precipitation patterns, submersion of islands, and ocean acidification, with scientific evidence clearly informing us these impacts will further intensify over time;
4. Note with great regret the suffering of our people from the effects of climate change as expressed in common existing statements, declarations and positions namely the 2015 BOKNAKE HAUS Communique of the 15th Micronesian President’s Summit, the Melanesian Spearhead Group Declaration on Environment and Climate Change, and the 2015 Taputapuatea Polynesian Leaders Declaration on Climate Change;
5. Are deeply disappointed that current international pledges for action as contained in submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), to stabilize global average temperature increase to well below 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels, remain grossly inadequate, with emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) continuing to rise;
6. Express grave concern that the continued increase in the production of fossil fuels, particularly the construction of new coal mines, undermines efforts to reduce global GHG emissions and the goal of decarbonising the global economy;
7. Highlight that irreversible loss and damage caused by climate change goes beyond adaptation and is already a reality for PSIDS if there is inadequate mitigation action, and that climate change is already resulting in forced displacement of island populations and the loss of land and territorial integrity and further highlight that such loss and damage results in breaches of social and economic rights;
8. Support the establishment of a Pacific Small Islands Developing States regional task force on climate financing to ensure adequate funding for adaptation and mitigation actions to address, amongst other things:
a. Our deep concerns about the continued lack of any clear roadmap for developed countries to provide USD 100 billion climate finance per year by 2020, as well as on substantially scaling up climate funding support after 2020;
b. The implementation of a fully effective operation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with timely disbursement of funds in order to limit global temperature increases to below 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels and transition towards a global, low emission, and sustainable climate resilient development pathway. Pacific Small Island Developing States must continue to be represented and supported on the GCF board;
c. Our deep concerns of proposals that adaptation funding be provided as loans or reimbursable grants rather than grants. As a consequence, Pacific Small Islands Developing States will either need to increase debt or divert resources from other development priorities to meet adaptation costs;
d. The requirement for a portfolio of funding of bilateral and multilateral mechanisms;
9. Welcome the conclusion of the Structured Expert Dialogue of the 2013-15 Review under the UNFCCC, that the goal to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2⁰C above pre-industrial levels is inadequate in view of the ultimate objective of the Convention. The latest science suggests that the 2⁰C ‘guardrail’ concept is no longer safe for the survival of our Pacific Small Island Developing States;
10. Emphasize that scientific evidence indicates that limiting warming to well below 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels will significantly reduce impacts, risks, adaptation needs, as well as loss and damage, and that actions to this effect will not significantly impact on economies;
11. Reiterate our commitment to the advancement of our national mitigation strategies and low carbon economies and net carbon sink status, as part of the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
12. Reaffirm that the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol is the stabilization of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system;
13. Urge all parties to the Kyoto Protocol to ratify and implement the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol;
14. Emphasize that the global nature of climate change requires all countries to cooperate with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, with developed countries taking the lead with respect to mitigation actions and the means of implementation for combating climate change;
15. Emphasize that the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement must provide in a balanced manner all the six elements identified in the Durban Mandate. Loss and damage must be included separately as the seventh element, and that the Agreement must ensure a truly shared global vision for a sustainable future;
16. Recognize that addressing gender based inequality and discrimination is essential for effective action on climate change; 17. Recognize the importance of engaging, as equal partners, civil society, women, youth and persons with disabilities, in all efforts towards building climate change resilience; 18. Recognize that a number of Pacific Islands Development Forum member states have submitted proposals to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) under the Montreal Protocol. Leaders agreed that such action was a critical component of comprehensive climate change mitigation strategy and agreed to pursue a phase out of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol at its Meeting of the Parties in Dubai this year;
19. We the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Development Forum following consultation with and the agreement of all stakeholders at the Pacific Island Development Forum Third Summit therefore call for:
a. the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to limit global average temperature increase to below 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels in order to transition towards deep-decarbonization;
b. the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to be legally binding;
c. the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to establish explicit provisions that ensure the strongest possible efforts will be made to achieve and continuously enhance national and global mitigation action, including review of mitigation efforts every 5 years, with opportunities to recommit to stronger action as informed by science;
d. loss and damage to be anchored as a standalone element that is separate and distinct from adaptation in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement;
e. a special provision in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to fast-track urgent action required to assist the most vulnerable countries that are already experiencing existential threats from climate change;
f. an integrated approach to transitioning Pacific countries to low carbon transport futures, in particular sea transport given its central role in providing connectivity for Pacific Small Island Developing States, including a regional strategy to advocate for and monitor implementation of sector targets through relevant UN agencies commensurate with the 1.5⁰C threshold;
g. a new global dialogue on the implementation of an international moratorium on the development and expansion of fossil fuel extracting industries, particularly the construction of new coal mines, as an urgent step towards decarbonising the global economy;
h. increased support for adaptation measures that address all vulnerable sectors including health, water and sanitation, energy, agriculture, forestry and fisheries;
i. adaptation measures for Pacific Small Island Developing States to be 100% grant financed;
j. support the establishment of mechanisms for the payment of ocean and ecosystem services;
k. stronger regulations regarding climate proofing of infrastructure as well as revision or formulation of building and zoning codes;
l. the development of Pacific based research and technology capacity as an essential foundation for innovation in our response to climate change;
m. capacity building on formal and non-formal education, knowledge management, with a particular emphasis on national languages and communication of climate change;
n. support to enable the greater involvement of community, civil society (including women, youth and persons with disabilities) and the private sector, in our climate change responses and initiatives.

4th September 2015


Subscribe to The Permanent Mission Of The Republic Of Fiji to the United Nations RSS


English Arabic Chinese (Traditional) French Russian Spanish

Online Visitors

3 visitors currently online

Current weather

New York City

Overcast, light rain
  • Overcast, light rain
  • Temperature: 8 °C
  • Wind: NE, 9.3 km/h
  • Pressure: 1019 hPa
  • Rel. Humidity: 93 %
Reported on:
Tue, 12/01/2015 - 19:51


Broken clouds
  • Broken clouds
  • Temperature: 27 °C
  • Wind: ESE, 18.5 km/h
  • Pressure: 1010 hPa
  • Rel. Humidity: 74 %
Reported on:
Tue, 12/01/2015 - 19:00