Fiji and Germany: Partners in the Fight to Stop Global Warming

Fiji is proud to preside over COP23 and, particularly, to count the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn as our partners. When several friendly nations suggested at COP22 in Morocco that Fiji take on the Presidency of COP23, we found the idea both daunting and enticing—daunting because it is a huge undertaking for a small country, and enticing because it gives us a chance to carry forward the perspective of all climate-vulnerable countries.

© by UNFCCC/Fiji

Article by Frank Bainimarama, Fijian Prime Minister and incoming President of COP23

Fiji is not a newcomer to the world stage. We may seem like a small, isolated country in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, nearly 5,000 kilometres from the nearest continent, but we are an outward-looking nation and have long had an internationalist perspective. Trade is important to us, our Pacific neighbourhood is important to us, and we welcome thousands of visitors to our shores each year. We also take seriously our role as a responsible member of the world community, and so we are among the world’s foremost contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations. We consider our peacekeeping missions to be a service to our fellow human beings and the international community.

Now we have the chance—with the rest of the world—to rescue ourselves from the folly we have lived since the dawn of the industrial era. We can take concerted action to reduce greenhouse gases and limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. For Fiji and other vulnerable and developing states, this is not just an ambitious goal. It is an imperative and a minimum achievement. Of course, it is no less important to developed countries and countries with large land areas, so we are pleased to see that virtually all nations are trying to put aside narrow interests to achieve a common good. We are engaged together in a noble effort, which will require constant effort and recommitment. We must succeed.

I wish to thank the German government and the German people for being our partner in this Presidency. We have some 40,000 hotel rooms in Fiji, but we do not yet have enough rooms and meeting space in one place to host an event of this magnitude. Germany stepped forward to offer a hand in friendship and has been a generous partner, showing clearly its global leadership to combat climate change and ensure a successful meeting in November.

In Fiji, we talk about a Bula Spirit, an attitude of hospitality and positive thinking that helps define our people and culture. We have found that Bula Spirit here in Bonn.