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What’s important given the immensity of the challenge we face to persuade the world to act on climate change is to stick together. Because we are going to be far more effective if we speak with one voice - the voice of the Pacific, the voice of the some of the most vulnerable, demanding action and demanding to be heard.
Nothing else will matter in the least if we can’t secure our future in the face of climate change. It is the number one issue in Fiji and the entire world. And having been asked to lead that fight by the global community, I am going to do it and do it to the best of my ability. Because everything we hold dear as a nation depends on it. Our way of life, the future of our children, the future of our beloved Fiji.
As Pacific Islanders, we are fighting for our very survival. For all we hold dear. For all that God has given us and has been entrusted to us by our forebears to care for and pass on to generations to come. And for some of our number, their very existence as sovereign nations with land and coastlines hangs in the balance.
As Fiji’s Champion in our National campaign against Non-Communicable Diseases, I am delighted to join you, my fellow Fijians this morning to celebrate this year’s National Sports and Wellness Day.
I’m delighted to be here today as we celebrate a project that marks the beginning of a new era of prosperity and empowerment for the iTaukei people, as we break ground on the first-ever Government funded development of iTaukei land.
If there is one thing we have all learned over the last two weeks, for every action -- there is a reaction. And, my friends, the leadership represented in this room, and people of all walks of life from across America, have spoken very loudly -- telling the world that America will continue to tackle climate change, continue the clean energy revolution, continue to create jobs and grow its economy so that it can thrive in the 21st Century.
We came here playing a role far more ambitious than a nation of our size can expect to play under normal circumstances. But as we all know, these aren’t normal circumstances. Our oceans and seas are under unprecedented threat.
The community of nations has gathered here in New York this week to try to find answers to the grave threat our seas and oceans are under from pollution, overfishing and climate change. We have worked hard to make this conference a success. Many of us have made commitments that will spearhead our effort to tackle this crisis. Many of us are embarking on courses of action within our own maritime borders to roll back the tide – to begin the long, slow process of reversing the degradation we have all witnessed.
The challenges we face to ocean quality are so comprehensive that only solutions that are practical and holistic should be considered. And it has become abundantly clear this week that we must redouble our efforts, especially in the Pacific, because of the urgency of the situation we find ourselves in.

Excellencies, as you all know, COP23 – unlike previous COPS – does not include the usual gathering of world leaders. Our prime task is to advance the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement - the Rulebook - and lay the groundwork for more decision climate action in the Facilitative Dialogue of 2018.
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