Fiji’s High-Level Champion for Global Climate Action Meets UAE Minister for Climate Change and Environment

Hon. Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Management, and Meteorological Services, and Fijian COP23 Presidency High-Level Champion for Global Climate Action, met with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister for Climate Change and Environment, His Excellency, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi in Dubai.

HE Al Zeyoudi congratulated Fiji on its achievements as the COP (Conference of the Parties) President at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference, COP23 (twenty third session of the COP), in Bonn, Germany last year and offered his support to Fiji. The UAE Minister highlighted the need to change mind-sets among policy makers and to draw in the Ministers for Finance and Planning on the political discussions on climate change.

The two Ministers discussed how climate change was impacting the the Pacific Islands and the Arabian Gulf region. Hon. Seruiratu highlighted the vulnerability of Pacific Islands and the challenges faced by the agriculture sector with intensifying extreme events like flooding and drought. There is the critical need for effective climate change adaptation technologies and the need to strengthen overall resilience.

HE Dr Al Zeyoudi informed Hon. Seruiratu of UAE’s progress in developing adaptation plans in the priority sectors of health, infrastructure, energy and environment, saying they also consider resilience of utmost importance for their people and environment. Minister Seruiratu congratulated the UAE Ministry on the development of the plans and suggested a sharing of knowledge and technologies with Fiji saying that Fiji could learn from the advancement of technologies in UAE, a suggestion to which Dr Al Zeyudi was very receptive to.

The Ministers also touched on the agriculture industry in Fiji and discussed opportunities for trade and investment with the UAE. Dr Al Zeyoudi said that there was potential for this and there should be further discussions. Dr Al Zeyoudi also enquired after the renewable projects funded by the UAE in Lakeba, Rotuma and Kadavu. The US5milion grant enabled the establishment of micro-grid solar plants providing electrification for communities on these islands.

The meeting concluded with HE Al Zayoudi offering his support to Fiji and Minister Seruiratu thanking the UAE for the valuable partnership with Fiji and looked forward to forging closer relationships.