“America’s Pledge Sends Powerful Message that America is Still in the Game” – President’s Speech at the Delivery of America’s Pledge

Photo: Martin Pohlmann

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all,

I’m delighted as COP23 president to be joining you at your event, which – in essence- is to celebrate the “can do” attitude of America. Leadership that is positive, optimistic and determined to build a better future for Americans. And because we are all in the same canoe, a better future for the whole world.

I’m especially delighted to acknowledge my great allies in building the Grand Coalition that is a centrepiece of Fiji’s presidency – my Special Envoy for States and Regions, Governor Jerry Brown of California. And the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change – the former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.

Jerry and Mike bring with them to COP a number of other Governors plus a large number of mayors of American cities – all committed to leadership on climate change. And who are stepping up with significant commitments to reduce emissions and build a clean energy economy.

I warmly welcome you all to COP23 and salute you for your energy and commitment. Vinaka vakalevu.

Friends, it is thanks to America’s Pledge that we are now seeing how much progress can be made with the leadership of these decision makers. They may be called non-state actors in this process. But make no mistake, they are leading actors in driving more ambitious climate action in their states and cities in the critical pre-2020 period.

America’s Pledge sends a very powerful message to the world that America is still in the game. Around me today are Americans who have the interests of their fellow citizens at the forefront of their endeavours. And within the Grand Coalition, we are showing that we can assemble the power of ideas, the power of organisation and the power of political will.

Our calling is to create a global movement of climate action far beyond the confines of the UN negotiations. Our Grand Coalition brings together people of conviction and purpose right across the world. From city halls, school halls and church halls. To state houses, corporate board rooms, factory floors and start-up hubs. And around kitchen tables or on rugs or mats, as in Fiji – everywhere where ordinary families gather who are an essential part of our Grand Coalition.

Friends, we can only achieve a response that matches the scale of this crisis with the huge movement that the Grand Coalition represents. For Fiji and other vulnerable nations, it’s ultimately about our survival – our ability as nations and as people to prosper and to flourish.

Something wonderful is happening at COP23. The Parties that are pressing for greater ambition have been joined by so many non-party actors with the power to make a difference. And America’s Pledge is a fine example of this new dynamic.

It certainly gives me as COP president renewed optimism that no matter how hard the challenge, we have the capacity and the will to fully implement the Paris Agreement.

I want to close with a message to all those who are behind America’s Pledge. Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you. Because with your assistance, we will get this job done.

And speaking of getting the job done, I now have the great pleasure to welcome Mike Bloomberg to address you all.