COP26 should be a turning point for leaders: UK High Commissioner Edgar


The British High Commissioner to Fiji is hoping that COP26 will be a turning point in which the world’s governments and leaders start taking climate change seriously.

George Edgar said as the presidency of the 26th Conference of Parties, there is an urgent need to do away with rhetoric and speeches and focus on action.

“There’s been a growing realisation over the last years both in the context of climate change by reducing gas emissions and in the context of protecting ourselves against the impacts of climate change which is something that Fiji is very well aware of, with rising sea levels, cyclones over the last years and so on.”

The British High Commissioner joined the Minister responsible for climate change, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for a mangrove planting initiative organised by the youth of Namoli Village in Lautoka.

While officiating at the mangrove planting initiative, Sayed-Khaiyum said addressing climate change is not about having conferences.

“It’s about very practical everyday issues that face us. The sea levels are rising and we have already identified about 40 villages that need to move to higher ground, we’ve already moved six villages to higher ground.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji is focusing on adaptation as climate change continues to threaten the livelihood of many Fijians.

He reiterated the importance for Fiji to position itself well in response to climate change.

Sayed-Khaiyum said present climate action will eventually benefit young Fijians as they are the future of our country.

He said youth also play an imperative role in leading the fight against climate change and ensure climate policies are transformed into action.

Sayed-Khaiyum said that the recently passed Climate Change Act also provides an opportunity for Fijians to earn an income without exploiting our local resources.

“Traditionally when we think of a forest, we think we have to cut the timber to get the money. Now you can keep the trees on the ground and get paid for keeping the trees on the ground. In the same way this mangrove planting that we have over here, it’s become a valuable resource.”

Mangroves are an essential tool in the fight against climate change as it protects the shoreline from coastal erosion and has a higher rate of sequestration.