“Accelerate Your Activities and Inspire Others to Take Action” – President’s Speech at Momentum for Change Climate Solution Awards

COP23 President and Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama remarks at the Momentum for Change Climate Solution Awards.

Bula vinaka, guten abend and good evening to you all.

When we gather to decide how the world will act collectively to overcome the challenge of climate change, we tend to speak in grand terms. We talk about two degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius. We talk about tonnes of carbon dioxide, metres of sea-level rise and of climate refugees.

The challenge is huge, and finding the solutions can seem daunting. But tonight we are reminded that massive problems can often be solved by millions of kind and generous people doing what they can in their own corner of the world. When people of goodwill harness their energy, their unique expertise and their desire to serve and dedicate them to a cause, it can be like magic.

We can go a long way toward solving this crisis by working one project at a time, tackling one seemingly intractable problem at a time, one community at a time. The cumulative effect can change the world. And what is just as important, these locally based activities engage people and help change habits.

These activities—and the people who work very hard to make them successful—are very much a part of the Grand Coalition that we need to build and sustain if we are to save this Earth from the forces we human beings have unleashed.

I want to congratulate the people behind the Lighthouse Activities on winning the United Nations’ “Momentum for Change” Climate Solution award. Your stories are an inspiration because they don’t just appeal to our idealism. They also appeal to that part of our human nature that says that wherever there is a problem, we can find a solution. Even a small one.

In the Bula zone, you will see the traditional Fijian drua to remind us we are all in the same canoe. We are all working to solve the climate change challenge together. Climate action from these Lighthouse Activities inspires other people and communities to take action over a broad front—not to wait for national governments to do it for them. National governments can then push forward on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

I know that this award is not an invitation for you to rest on your laurels, but to accelerate your activities and inspire others to take action. I thank everyone worldwide who has played a part in helping these Lighthouse Activities make a difference in our world and in the lives of real people.

Vinaka vakalevu and thank you.