Suva, Fiji - “Climate change constitutes some of the greatest barriers to sustainable development with widespread and cross-sector effects, putting the biodiversity and ecosystems of Pacific Islands at risk, especially marine and coastal.
“This has severe implications for Fiji’s economic development with the country’s dependence upon natural resources for its primary industries of fisheries, forestry and agriculture.”
So wrote the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola in the forward to the document presenting Fiji National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) launched in Suva recently.
Ratu Inoke’s remarks reflect the growing awareness among island countries of the threats posed by climate change that have resulted in the continued development of policies and strategies to address this threat.
“Most countries in the region have climate change policies and strategies that have been written and many endorsed. However, they vary in terms of quality and coverage. Fiji’s is quite a comprehensive one and well written.
“The key issue is whether countries can actually abide by their policies and implement them, said Brian Dawson, Senior Advisor Climate Change for the SPC (Secretariat for the Pacific Community), in responding to queries about the Fiji climate change policy launch.
This was reinforced by Ratu Inoke who emphasized the importance of putting words into action.
He cautioned that the intended outcomes of the Fiji National Climate Change Policy would not be realized “If we take a copy (of the Climate Change Policy document), skim through the glossy pages and store it in our bookshelves.
“It must be read and practiced, and arouse a sense of shared ownership by all relevant stakeholders as this has bearing on the very future of this nation and our region,” he said.
He pointed out that the policy “also recognizes the need for constructive co-operation in addressing the adverse impacts of climate change in a more holistic, pro-active and integrated manner,” he said.
Ratu Inoke acknowledged the financial help towards the development of the Fiji National Climate Change Policy provided by SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region Programme.