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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fiji

 Fiji stresses ambition as "More Urgent than ever" in light of COVID-19 Crisis and Impact of TC Harold on PSIDS

TCHARLOD2
Virtual High Level Placencia Ambition Forum

As Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) cope with both the aftermath of severe Cyclone Harold and the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fiji has led a global push for greater multilateral solidarity and support to brace vulnerable countries for devastating public health and economic impacts. 

Speaking on behalf of PSIDS at a Virtual High Level Placencia Ambition Forum, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad, highlighted the life-threatening stresses that climate change and coronavirus are placing on vulnerable economies.

“Supercharged Cateogry-5 Tropical Cyclone Harold, which caused dozens of deaths in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, is a wake-up call. You cannot practice good physical distancing in communities where homes have been blown away. You cannot fly in emergency workers to provide emergency relief to communities in the path of destruction in countries which are still COVID free. Small vulnerable countries cannot respond to their worst health emergency in a century and the fiercest cyclone in a century at the same time,” he said.

The forum –– hosted by the Government of Belize –- is part of a series of preparatory meetings in the lead-up to COP26, which has been rescheduled to January 2021.

In attendance at the forum’s official opening was the Rt. Honourable Dean Oliver Barrow, the Prime Minister of Belize, His Excellency António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, Carolina Schmidt, the Chilean Minister of Environment and COP 25 President, and the joint Presidents of COP 26, ministers Alok Sharma and Sergio Costa.

In his address, Ambassador Prasad detailed the intricate linkages between COVID-19 and climate change, stressing the growing urgency of achieving net-zero emissions to prevent the widening of existing inequalities.

“SIDS do not have access to special concessionary funds. Middle income SIDS face particular challenges in accessing development finance at the best of times.  They compete from the same pool of resources with much larger and often higher capacity developing countries. This must change. As the most vulnerable nations in the World; SIDS must have access to earmarked funds for supporting their climate ambition and their COVID19 recovery,” Ambassador Prasad said. 

He went on to commend launch of the United Nation’s COVID-19 Response Fund by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, pointing to the extreme need for accessible and affordable financing for all Small Island Developing State (SIDS).

“SIDS should be able to access these funds to rebuild their economies while enhancing their NDC implementation at the same time. On behalf of PSIDS, I thank the UNSG for his leadership on this. I thank development partners already supporting this effort, along with Norway-UK- Denmark and others. We join the UNSG in his call upon other partners to support this effort and support this generously. Climate change is a complex development challenge that now requires a COVID-adjusted approach,” he emphasised.

Fiji’s PRUN also spoke on the significance of the Pacific NDC Hub, launched by Prime Minister Honourable Voreqe Bainimarama in 2017, in enhancing PSIDS already high climate ambition, developing investment plans for NDC implementation and leveraging finance for NDC implementation.

 

TCHARLOD1

 Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad while speaking on behalf of PSIDS at a Virtual High Level Placencia Ambition Forum
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Several members of Public Accounts Committee of the Fijian Parliament visiting Wellington this week took advantage of a visit to the Wellington City Council’s Southern Landfill yesterday to glean a few ideas for waste management in Fiji. This included the Hon. Alexander O’Connor, Assistant Minister for Health, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Opposition parliamentarian and Ms. Priya Chand, Parliamentary Secretary who were accompanied by the Fiji High Commission New Zealand staff.

The Southern landfill is an impressive setup particularly as it focuses on recycling and minimising the damage to the environment at the landfill.

 

Other remarkable features of the landfill were its gas collection, electricity regeneration, green waste mulching and water table management. The Hon. O’Connor, an engineer by profession, was particularly impressed and intends to develop a few ideas for the Fijian Government to consider.

 

The PAC members were invited to attend the Pacific PAC training seminar in Wellington facilitated by UNDP from the 12th to the 13th December.

The PAC members, including Deputy Chair, Hon. Mohammed Dean, MP, were hosted to afternoon tea at the Fiji Chancery.  It was an opportunity for the Parliamentarians to meet the Locally Engaged Staff at the Mission and also update the staff on the work and concerns of the Public A

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