COP23 Focus of Bainimarama and Turnbull Talks

Australian assistance for Fiji’s COP23 presidency has been the subject of talks in Sydney between the Fijian Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull. The Prime Minister is in Australia for a four day visit and left soon after arriving to meet Mr Turnbull at his home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The Australian leader is about to leave for the United States for his first face-to-face meeting on Thursday with the American President, Donald Trump. Trump administration officials have been meeting to decide if the US will proceed with Mr Trump’s pre-election undertaking to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. They have indicated that a decision will be announced before the President attends the G7 meeting of the major industrial nations in Germany in June.

The Prime Minister told Mr Turnbull that it was critical to preserve the multilateral consensus contained in the Paris Agreement for decisive cuts in carbon emissions to arrest the current rate of global warming and reduce the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events such as Tropical Cyclone Winston.

He said Fiji had deeply appreciated Australian assistance in the wake of the devastation caused by Winston last February. And he appealed to Australia to stand shoulder to shoulder with Fiji as it worked as COP23 President to keep up the momentum to tackle the underlying causes of such events on behalf of every global citizen.

The PM also asked Mr Turnbull to use his influence with countries like New Zealand and Japan to fully support Fiji’s leadership of the ongoing UN climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany, in November.

During his visit to Australia, the Prime Minister will deliver the keynote address at the 4th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit in Melbourne on Tuesday. He will outline Fiji’s priorities as incoming COP President, which include advancing the Rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and laying the groundwork for more decisive global action to address the impact of climate change through the Facilitative Dialogue of 2018.