OPINION: Engaging civil society a boost to help achieve goals of COP 23


Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

EDITORIAL: The opening up of the Conference of Parties (COP23) meetings,  to include civil society, under the presidency of  Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, is a breath of fresh air.

It’s  a departure from the usual gathering where only heads of states table their views.

The stance taken by Mr Bainimarama to include the civil society groups in discussions is a major step in the right direction.

It highlights the Government’s policy of inclusiveness. While it is a break from tradition at that international level, it is expected to enhance the expected outcome of the COP23 climate change summit in Bonn, Germany in November.

It also reflects  the  hallmark of how we do business and conduct our affairs in Fiji – that no one is left behind or excluded.

This is also a  prominent feature of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) which was founded by Fiji.

PIDF was the first to give equal voice to non-Government organisations.

Details of COP23’s preparations are now emerging and Fiji is not taking its presidency lightly. A lot is riding on this, not only for Fiji but also for the small island states, particularly the Pacific.

These island states are looking to Fiji to walk the talk and set the example.

When the leaders and stakeholders converge in Bonn, all eyes will be on Mr Bainimarama. Germany has already thrown its support behind Fiji.

German  State Secretary at the Ministry for the Environment, Nature, Conservation, Building, and Nuclear Safety,  Jochen Flasbarth, is in the country to discuss the upcoming 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties  and for bilateral discussions.

He has met with the Mr Bainimarama, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy,  Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and  the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu.

More discussions are expected to take place in the coming months.

As Mr Bainimarama said with our Presidency of COP23, we have been entrusted with the task of leading the world in the next phase of negotiations. The objective is to preserve the multilateral consensus contained in the Paris Agreement for decisive cuts in carbon emissions.

The second part is to keep up the momentum for its implementation with a wave of climate action that every global citizen can join.

This is the hardest part, the implementation phase. It’s not impossible to achieve.

Engaging the civil society will actually strengthen the messaging that we are at a critical stage and we need to act now to reduce carbon emissions and slow down global warming.


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