COP23 President Thanks Britain for $2.18M for COP23 Preparations

The Incoming COP23 President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, has thanked Britain for its $2.18 million contribution for COP23 preparations.

This was announced today by the British High Commissioner to Fiji, Melanie Hopkins, during the celebration of the completion of rehabilitation works at Tailevu North College, following the destruction caused by Cyclone Winston, which swept through Fiji in 2016, devastating communities and killing dozens of Fijians.

The Prime Minister asked the High Commissioner to convey to the British Government and the British people the sincere thanks of every Fijian. He said that this assistance – together with that received from other partners – will help Fiji, as the incoming Presidency of COP23, to wage a global campaign to get the world to take decisive action on climate change.

“I am not prepared to sit here in Fiji and expect the rest of the world to deal with this challenge – the greatest humanity has ever faced. We need to do some of the heavy lifting ourselves. And so that is why I have taken up the challenge myself to lead the world in the negotiations to get decisive action on climate change as the incoming president of COP23,” the Prime Minister said.

The COP23 President also thanked the High Commissioner for Britain’s assistance after Cyclone Winston, including a substantial private donation to the relief effort by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

However, the Prime Minister said that it was not enough to merely make Fiji more resilient. “We need to address the root cause of the extreme weather events like Winston, the rising sea levels and the changes to agriculture, caused by climate change. Friends, you all witnessed the fury of Tropical Cyclone Winston yourselves. We all know people who lost their lives or who were injured. Many of you lost your homes or part of your homes. Along with droughts, rising seas and the threat to our crops, the very survival of our nation is at stake. Our way of life. All that we hold dear,” he said.

“We Fijians have always answered the call to help meet a global challenge, whether in World War Two, Malaya or our ongoing peacekeeping missions in troubled parts of the world. And we are answering the call to help meet this one. To persuade the industrial nations to drastically reduce the carbon emissions that are causing our planet to heat up.”

Read the full text of the Prime Minister’s remarks here.