More ambitious actions needed from the biggest emitting countries – Fiji PM Bainimarama


The Small Island Developing States (SIDS)are on a mission to demand more ambitious actions from major emitters and the restoration of the health of the global ocean and more importantly, an increase in climate financing for those affected by climate change.

With about three weeks away from the 26th Session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, Prime Minister and Pacific Islands Forum Chair, Voreqe Bainimarama said there must be strong realistic commitments to ramp up climate actions from the larger greenhouse gas emitters.

While delivering his statement virtually at the EU-Indo-Pacific High-Level Conference on Climate Change, Prime Minister Bainimarama said success is guaranteed if Governments, businesses and ordinary people summon the courage to seize the future we want for ourselves by making strong commitments and acting upon them.

“Fiji is not only asking for ambition, we are acting on it. Our recently passed Climate Change Act commits us to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century,” he said.

“It mandates the 100 percent sustainable management of our ocean by 2030, with 30 percent as marine protected areas and it calls for resilience through nature-based solutions. It requires the private sector to disclose information on climate change risks and establishes national carbon budgets.”

“COP26 must be the place for the finalisation of the outstanding elements of the Paris Rulebook.”

“Fiji and our Pacific Island neighbours are embracing the goal of region-wide green and blue economies to create a sustainable future in the midst of a healthy Blue Pacific. With the right ambition and corresponding actions, the same ocean that threatens to swallow low-lying islands can become our most sustainable source of prosperity.”

“The ocean-climate nexus should be as clear to anyone as it is to us. In fact, it is more than a nexus; it is an unbreakable bond. We are becoming a part of that bond by investing in sustainable “blue” economies that create generational benefit to our people.”

On the subject of climate financing, Bainimarama said in order to build a truly resilient Fiji and the Pacific, we need access to fast-deploying targeted grants, long-term concessionary financing, and financial tools and instruments established through public-private collaboration and partnership.

“Right now, Small Island Developing States are only able to access a mere two per cent of the climate finance currently available and with that, we are expected to protect ourselves from an existential crisis we did not cause. It is not just an unjust expectation, it is an impossible expectation,” he said.

“Our share of climate finance must be increased to at least 10 per cent of the total funds to protect against future impacts and a clear commitment must be locked in with regards to loss and damage to address the damage already done.”

“For our sake and all of humanity’s, SIDS will wield the full measure of our moral authority against major emitters who refuse to arrive in Glasgow with strong commitments. Our case will be made on the basis of moral principles and global security.”

Meanwhile, the virtual conference showcased a commonality of views between the EU and key partners in the Indo-Pacific on matters of adaptation, including finance and also the need for a number of key countries, notably the G20, to step up their efforts in significantly reducing greenhouse gases in this decade.