As the COP28 meeting approaches, Fiji will take a bold stance in advocating for regional solidarity and a vision for a resilient and peaceful Pacific that thrives while we respond to the challenges of climate change.

In a statement, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka reiterated the importance of collective action and a transformative vision for the Pacific amidst the challenges posed by the ocean-climate change nexus.

The Prime Minister said the COP28 meeting must mark a turning point, prompting us to respond to the First Global Stocktake and course-correct our trajectory.

Rabuka said Fiji’s primary focus is on advocating for stronger mitigation action, fostering resilience, adopting effective climate risk management strategies, and securing a sustainable future for all.

“As the Pacific champion of the ocean-climate nexus, Fiji places particular emphasis on the climate change impacts on oceans, acknowledging the critical role that the Pacific nations play in this intricate relationship.”

“Our oceans are not just a backdrop to climate change; they are central to its impacts and solutions. By participating actively and collaboratively, Pacific countries can amplify their voices and influence global decisions concerning the oceans.”

The Prime Minister said given the profound impact of climate change on oceans and human security, he emphasised that the concept of a ‘Zone of Peace’ signifies a dedication to cross-border collaboration.

Rabuka said climate change poses a direct threat to the peace and security of our region, surrounded by ocean.

“Our vision is to establish the Pacific as a ‘Zone of Peace,’ where nations work together to address climate challenges and build resilience. This is not just about survival; it’s about thriving in the face of adversity.”

“This commitment aims to safeguard ecosystems’ sustainability, protect shared resources, and mitigate conflicts arising from climate change,” he said.

The Prime Minister said Fiji’s commitment to addressing climate change is to strongly advocate for meeting global targets to keep a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach and to build resilience and effectively manage climate risks.

“Fiji recognises the power of regional solidarity in the fight against climate change. The Pacific islands, with shared vulnerabilities, are more potent when standing together.”

As the need for climate financing, green technology and investment increase, the interconnectedness of climate challenges demands collaborative efforts for effective solutions.

While the Pacific grapples with the devastating impacts of climate change, Fiji will call for increased participation and unified action from Pacific countries.

Rabuka said as COP28 approaches, Fiji urges the global community to recognise the interconnectedness of climate issues and for a lot more ambition in mitigation and adaptation. There has to be impactful action, right now.

“Our participation in COP28 is not just about representing Fiji; it’s about standing in solidarity with our Pacific neighbours and championing a vision of a peaceful Pacific that thrives while we respond to the challenges of climate change,” the Prime Minister added.