Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is the Fijian Attorney-General and the Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service, Communications and the minister responsible for climate change. He is the second-ranking elected official in the country.
Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum oversaw the creation of a climate change unit in the Office of the Attorney-General to examine legal matters pertaining to climate change that are often omitted from public discussion, such as how to protect the human rights of people who are displaced by the effects of climate change.
The number of people displaced by climate change is projected to increase dramatically in the coming decades – especially in the Pacific – and some nations are faced with being completely submerged by rising sea levels. The Minister and his team are also exploring the impact that climate change will have on the sovereignty of these at-risk nations.
The Minister is also a strong proponent of climate adaptation and increasing access to climate finance, and is working with governments, multilateral organisations and development banks to allow countries such as Fiji to obtain adequate levels of funding– on the basis of vulnerability – to build their resilience to climate change. He is also leading advocate of granting concessional finance to vulnerable countries in the aftermath of a severe weather event.
Since 2007, Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum has been a driving force behind the Fijian Government’s series of legal, political, and economic reforms. He has initiated a comprehensive program to modernise Fiji’s laws by introducing groundbreaking laws in such areas as electoral law, domestic violence, corporate governance, and the criminal code.
Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum completed his Masters in Law degree at the University of Hong Kong. He is admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales and to the High Courts of Australia and Fiji. He attained his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, majoring in political science and development studies.