Fiji Sun: Presidency Highlights Small Nations’ Vulnerability: Espinosa

Fiji Sun Article

The United Nations climate change leader says the assignment of Fiji’s presidency of COP 23 highlights the importance of addressing the vulnerability of small island states.

The executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, made the remarks at the end of the three day Planning Meeting for COP23 in Suva, yesterday.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama endorsed her remarks at a press conference.

Ms Espinosa said Fiji’s taking on the role was a big move and a positive signal to the international community.

“I am actually very grateful to Fiji for having taken this big responsibility and it’s good news for the international community,” Ms Espinosa said.

Ms Espinosa said it was appropriate for Fiji to take up the role as it was among those other small Islands that were greatly affected by climate change.

“We are very impressed with the way Fiji is preparing for this presidency and the fact that the Prime Minister (Voreqe Bainimarama) himself decided to take up the task of presiding the conference is very important,” she said.

She said that Fiji had the full support of the UNFCCC Secretariat to perform its duties.

“It is always our duty to recognise the challenges it represents,” she said.

Ms Espinosa said that they were entering into a new way of doing the conference and that they already held various specific meetings to prepare for the conference.

“I think there is a lot of willingness and the leadership is very important to have the team organised,” she said.

“There is assurance that we are in the right track with the preparations.”

She highlighted a major contribution to climate change was the increase in ‘wastes’.

It was very important for individuals and industries to be advised on the minimising of plastic bags and reduction of wastes.

“Wastes have footprints into climate change,” she said.

This is her first time in Fiji and she said that she enjoyed her stay.

“Fiji is wonderful and I have really experienced wonderful people, I look forward to coming back,” she said.

Ms Espinosa left the country yesterday after three days of meetings in initial talks in preparation for the COP23 conference in November.

Read the original Fiji Sun story here.