Bainimarama calls for aggressive action in Spain
Madrid, December 8, 2019
Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has urged the youth in the Pacific to raise their voices and build relationship with their counterparts globally to establish Climate Action coalitions of the future.
Delivering the keynote address at the High-Level Talanoa Session on ‘Ambitious Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) with Pacific Youths at the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) in Madrid, Spain on Saturday, December 7, 2019, he said that it was crucial for youths to use their voices to challenge anyone, including those who might be older and seemingly more powerful, who dismiss calls for action or pretend that the future of the youths do not matter.
The event was a platform aimed at engaging our Pacific leaders and young people to a more robust and meaningful discussion on Climate Action.
Mr Bainimarama said that it was important to ensure that climate resilience and adaptation, among other important actions, are entrenched into government strategies and NDCs.
“Use your voice to stake your claim. Demand the future you know is right and possible, above all, go forth boldly in this campaign with confidence and I will always be proud to stand alongside you,” he said.
Describing the youth as ‘Young Climate Warriors,’ he said that they are the most valuable
Champions for the cause of Climate Action.
“You, the young Pacific climate warriors here today are among our most valuable champions for the cause of Climate Action.
“My voice carries weight in these forums because I lead a nation as Prime Minister but you are leaders in your own right as well. In fact, you can speak to the need for urgent and ambitious action more powerfully than I ever could. There is no force mightier than your courageous advocacy and justifiable angst in demanding action from the leaders of the world. Nothing gives me greater hope for the future than the new and surging levels of ownership your generation is taking over these issues,” Mr Bainimarama said.
He said that he stood with the youth to promote the Climate Action campaign and lead a nation that is backing their demands for action with climate-conscious development, slashing emissions and building an inclusive and resilient economy.
The 2050 Target
Mr Bainimarama said that Fiji is committed to reaching 1.5-degrees target by achieving net zero emissions by 2050, in terms of the Paris Agreement.
“Next year, we will submit our enhanced NDCs to the UNFCCC. We are one of a handful of countries with both a Climate Vulnerability Assessment and a National Adaptation Plan. Our progress is not only about meeting global commitments but also making it better to be a Fijian,” he said.
Youth advocate Komal Narayan said that young people see themselves as liaisons between governments and communities at grass roots level.
“Establishment of the Regional Pacific NDC Hub should also be a centre that provides the guidance and support tools for young people to get creative and innovative with the implementation of the NDCs. There is a need to identify and define youth action agenda for different stakeholders to build a strong and unified voice, moving forward the national climate discourse process,” she said.
Ms Narayan said that the youth offer transformative and just solutions towards building a more climate-resilient society or economy.
“Implementing the NDCs is all about getting Climate Action to the top of everyone’s priority list. We all are equal stakeholders when it comes to climate change,” she said.
Wilimi Sek, a Climate youth advocate from Vanuatu, a panellist at the Session, said that effective consultation was key in ensuring that no one is left behind in terms of understanding the Climate Action language.
“We need to cultivate the culture of learning. When we all fully understand the real and harmful impacts of climate change, we will be serious about our fight against this climate issue,” he said.
Another youth Panellist, Belinda Hikinemi from the Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change, said that it was important for Pacific leaders to support youth initiatives in their respective island nations.
“Our views and opinions should also be considered and incorporated into any climate policy or strategy in our countries so that we know we are also represented in all climate talks of the Pacific,” she said.