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In a very real sense, we are welcoming these Tabua back home, in an exchange that bears deep cultural and historical meaning for Fiji and the Fijian people. And full credit goes to both the Fijian and Kiwi border enforcement agencies who – under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, or CITES – worked collaboratively to make this happen. Vinaka vakalevu.
Excellencies, we have come together for this important dialogue at a significant moment. We have come to expect uncertainty in geopolitics generally. But with the issue of climate change, we have a particular uncertainty – what we have been calling the elephant in the room. And that is the challenge that the new administration in the United States presents to the multilateral consensus on the need for climate action.
Fiji would not be able to give voice to the most vulnerable as president of this process without the help of Germany. Indeed, the combination of Europe's largest economy and a small island developing state like Fiji, is symbolic of the kind of cooperation that we need to succeed.
My role, of course, is to be impartial, to act in the collective interest of all nations. But I certainly bring my own perspective to these negotiations. And it is that of a Fijian, a Pacific Islander, who comes from a region of the world that is bearing the brunt of climate change. Whether it is the rising seas, extreme weather events or changes to agriculture, that threaten our way of life and in some cases, our very existence.
I am delighted to be here with you today to open this newly renovated sporting facility for the people of Tavua. Our aim after the terrible storms we have been suffering is not just to build back, but to build back better and stronger. And that is what we have done here after the damage these facilities suffered in Tropical Cyclone Winston.
This project is just one part of my Government's commitment to build the economy of this country from the ground up by providing opportunity for small businesses, for people with ambition and drive who only need a chance. 
If we do not work together as a team, we will not be able to achieve the vision set for the industry. Hence, as “Team Fiji” we need to build on our strengths and find solutions to positively resolve our challenges and overcome our weaknesses.
This is the first major gathering of business leaders and policy makers that I have addressed as incoming President of COP 23. And I’m delighted to be here with a large number of you who are at the cutting edge – I probably shouldn’t say coalface – of our collective global effort to address the impact of climate change.
Every year, this weekend is filled with triumphs and disappointments. But for these student athletes to have even made it this far to compete at this level is a big accomplishment.
Tonight, that victory will be immortalised with the launch of a commemorative banknote and coin that honour our players, coaches and staff and give their victory the ever-lasting place in our history it deserves.
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