By Timoci Vula in Suva
Nearly two years since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, its global socioeconomic “headwinds” have blown many countries far off course from the aims of the climate 2030 Agenda, says the Fiji prime minister.
But fierce as those winds may be, they are “a whisper” next to the intensifying crisis brought by changing climate.
Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made these remarks in his official opening address at the Virtual SIDS Solution Forum yesterday.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a distinct group of 38 UN member states, including Pacific countries.
Bainimarama referred to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Saying that without drastic cuts to emissions, the prime minister noted how the report had stated “we are on track to blow past the 1.5-degree temperature threshold, confirming our worst fears that our low-lying neighbours in the Pacific, Kiribati and Tuvalu, face an existential threat over the coming decades”.
“And it means all of us must brace for storms and other climate impacts unlike anything we or our ancestors have ever endured,” Bainimarama said.
“That is why, when we go to COP26 together, our rallying cry must be to keep 1.5 alive.
“It remains the only temperature threshold that guarantees the security of all SIDS citizens, and we must leverage every ounce of our power and moral authority to fight for it.”
Bainimarama said the terrifying scale of those global challenges “give us no recourse but collective action”.
“I believe we can meet this moment with innovation — indeed, we already are. Just one week ago, Fiji launched a micro insurance scheme for climate-vulnerable communities.
“We are supporting local farmers with climate-resilient crops and funding adaption efforts through creative financial instruments.”
He said that by harnessing the hope that such innovation offered, small island states could recoup the economic losses of the pandemic and reset course towards zero hunger, clean oceans, quality education, and sustainable cities.
The states could also realise the other noble aims of the 2030 Agenda, towards more sustainable agri-food systems, and more resilient societies.
Timoci Vula is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.