Some positives were achieved in COP26: UN


United Nations Resident Coordinator to Fiji Sanaka Samarasinha says it is important to note that there were some successes achieved at the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Samarasinha’s comment comes after some Pacific leaders were upset with the outcomes of the meeting.

He said while the spotlight was on the failure of developed nations to completely phase out coal usage, one major achievement was the pledge by countries to end deforestation by 2030.

“There is significant funding for this (deforestation), we’re talking billions of dollars and some of those funds will be specifically targeting indigenous groups,” he said.

“As we know in most parts of the world, they are the keepers of the forests so it’s important that we empower local communities to protect the environment.”

“Another key achievement was that 105 countries had pledged to reduce their methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

“Methane is a significant contributor to global warming from oil wells and pipelines. When you have countries like the United States showing leadership in this is quite heartening,” he said.

He said regional countries have also achieved milestones in other areas such as gender and ensuring that the voices of vulnerable communities are heard.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s failure to achieve anything tangible from its agenda at COP26 proves that the donor-funded trip was a junket, says National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.

Professor Prasad in a statement said bigger countries than Fiji, such as New Zealand, sent fewer than 10 people and the Marshall Islands made a bigger impact than Fiji at COP26 with its delegation of just five people.

“But instead of sending a small, effective delegation that Fiji could afford – and lowering Fiji’s own carbon footprint – Fiji put out the begging bowl for three dozen people to travel”.

“But which “donors” donated the money? Were these donors aligned with Fiji’s interests at COP26? Or were they big polluters such as China or Australia? Was the Fiji government compromised? Whose tune were the Prime Minister and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum dancing to in Glasgow?”

“And regardless of who was paying, the Prime Minister and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum should tell the people of Fiji what per diem allowances they collected for the duration of the trip?

“Tens of thousands of people have had their jobs and lives ruined by COVID-19 and can barely keep their families fed. Perhaps our elected leaders are too ashamed to tell us what money they have been able to receive in their two weeks away from the country.”

He further stated that the decision of a diplomatic mission here to fund the trip of journalists from only two news media organisations is also highly questionable.