Fijian PM highlight obstacles to UN Development Goals, promote Suva Declaration

​Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says nations must take stock of the systemic issues that create the obstacles that are slowing them down in achieving developing sustainable goals.

He was speaking at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York.

“Many developing countries do not have the financial resources to do what is needed to fulfil the goals. Many countries have the ideas, the plans and the resolve to act; but do not have the financial backing they need,” he said.

“If we can recognise that the lack of funding is what can hold many of us back, then it should be one of the key critical issues to be discussed in this summit. We have our goals. Now, how do we get there? We must make affordable financing for sustainable progress a reality.

“Developing countries, in order to receive grants and loans, must prove themselves trustworthy.  Governments must operate on the principle of transparency, and corruption must be stamped out and punished without exception. In Fiji, we are determined to eradicate the remnants of the past. My government is transparent for all to see. And the corruption that was endemic in previous governments is being weeded out by its roots.

“My country is a small island nation. We’re not rich. But we are doing what we can to work toward the Sustainable Development goals.

“The action we are calling for has already begun in Fiji, where we are putting our own Green Growth Framework into practice. Fiji has a master plan and an economic model that links economic growth and environmental protection. Our goal is to build an economy that nurtures the interests of all our citizens, and establishes strict environmental criteria for all development projects.”

Meanwhile, Bainimarama met with the President of Kiribati,  Anote Tong and Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister, Taukelina Finikaso, to reaffirm commitment and solidarity on the Suva Declaration as the Pacific’s blueprint for the 2015 Climate Change Agreement to be adopted in Paris later this year.

The Leaders agreed that the reality of climate change for the Pacific Islands posed irreversible loss and damage to our people, societies, livelihoods, natural environments and human rights. They noted it was well known that in many cases, the effects of Climate Change were going to create existential threats to the very survival of island communities.

PM Bainimarama reiterated that the Suva Declaration on Climate Change was a product of an extensive, transparent and inclusive process with all stakeholders prior to and during this month’s Pacific Islands Development Forum Summit. He said this process had included the PSIDS Group in New York, technical agencies active in the Pacific (including SPC, SPREP, USP, IUCN, WWF, ADB, FNU, UN agencies), and  PSIDS member states.

The Leaders emphasised that key objectives in the Declaration included a legally binding agreement committing all parties, with a review of mitigation efforts every 5 years, as well as loss and damage to be anchored as a stand alone element that is separate and distinct from adaptation. The Declaration calls for an agreement at the Paris COP that binds the world to a stabilization of global average temperature increase to well below 1.5 centigrade above pre-industrial levels.

The Leaders agreed to an advocacy plan and strategy that will fortify solidarity on the Suva Declaration on the road to Paris. The strategy includes a proposed PSIDS coordination meeting in the margins of the CHOGM conference in Malta this November. They stressed the importance of AOSIS, the Group of 77, and Development Partners being advised of, and lobbied to support, the principles and key messages of the Suva Declaration.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) in Suva, in collaboration with PSIDS Ambassadors in New York, have been tasked to coordinate these efforts.