05/11/17

Campaign for Decisive Climate Action is for the Protection of Our Planet – Incoming COP23 President

Prime Minister and incoming COP23 President’s speech at the the COP23 Welcome Ceremony in Bonn, Germany on 5 November 2017.

Bula vinaka, guten tag and a very good afternoon to you all.

It is the eve of COP23 and as President, I have been busy with meetings preparing for the formal opening tomorrow. But I was determined to be here this afternoon – however briefly – to share in your commemoration as the host city.

Most of all, I wanted to be here to thank you all for the wonderful work that has been done by so many people over so many months to prepare for this event.

The world has come to Bonn for COP23. Over the next two weeks, you will be the centre of global attention as you play host to delegates from almost 200 countries. And every citizen of Bonn can be immensely proud as the global spotlight falls on you and your beautiful city.

It isn’t just your great history and your special place in the rich cultural heritage of Germany and the world – the birthplace of the immortal Beethoven. It isn’t just your spectacular natural setting on the banks of the mighty Rhine. It is the spirit and the hospitality of the people of Bonn. The way in which you have welcomed me and the way in which you are welcoming the more than 20,000 visitors we expect at COP.

For a Pacific Islander like me, the Bonn weather at this time of the year can be a bit of a shock. But there’s no doubting the warmth of the people of the Bonn. I want to tell you all how grateful I am for making me and every Fijian feel welcome. And I know I speak for everyone who has come to COP from all parts of the world.

Friends, the partnership between Germany and Fiji that has made our presidency possible is a wonderful thing – two nations of vastly different sizes at opposite ends of the earth coming together for the most noble of purposes.

The campaign for decisive climate action is for the protection of our planet, for all we hold dear. And I promise you all that Fiji will do everything we can to fulfill the confidence the German people have placed in us to take this mission forward.

We have important work to do over the next fortnight and that work has already begun. I would love to spend more time with you all this afternoon but duty calls and I must return to the Bula Zone.

Thank you for your wonderful welcome and I hope to meet as many ordinary citizens of Bonn as possible over the next couple of weeks. Please enjoy the Fijian Bula spirit with our cultural performances all over the city in the coming days. And if you see me around, please come up and say Hallo.

I’m pretty sure that by the end of the two weeks, there’ll be quite a few citizens of Bonn with selfies in their phones with a guy from Fiji called Frank.

Vinaka vakalevu. Danke Schon. Thank you.