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This development plan provides a forward-looking vision for transforming Fiji into an even more progressive, vibrant and inclusive society. Our vision for Fiji builds on the theme of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: “A Universal Push to Transform our World.”
As President of COP23, I appeal to you all to use this opportunity to speak freely and frankly about any shortfalls we need to meet and also where the UN is doing things right. Because above all, we must ensure that our organisation is in the best possible shape to deal with climate change – undoubtedly the greatest challenge of our age.
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Fiji has been very proud to lead this process and bring our culture and values to Bonn and these negotiations. The Bula Spirit that has permeated the Bonn Zone; the idea of Talanoa that is now framing our dialogue; Our performers – singers, dancers and musicians. Our people.

Friends, modern infrastructure will have to be both resilient to climate change and clean – whether it is new energy and transport systems or efficient buildings and communications networks that assist the digital revolution. We are not moving forward into a better future if we build in more pollution and climate risk.
Among other things, the Fijian Government in partnership with the UNDP, the Australian Government, an international NGO and private sector agencies has been championing the concept of ‘risk-informed development’. With support from the UNDP’s Pacific Risk Resilience Programme, we are bringing local communities into our national planning processes.
We all know that climate change will have an increasingly serious effect on the health of our people and create some serious challenges for our health systems and infrastructure. And I’m
pleased to see that in the COP negotiations, health is now getting the priority it deserves. Because the evidence from the medical and public health community has been building for many years.
And so I ask you all as members of our Grand Coalition to embark with me on a mission to explain. To be principal agents for change. We have a duty to those we represent to meet this challenge. It is about showing leadership. And we must use our authority to lead the debate on how we make this transformation in the interests of those we represent.
I’m delighted as COP23 President to be joining you at your event, which - in essence - is to celebrate the “can do” attitude of America. Leadership that is positive, optimistic and determined to build a better future for Americans. And because we are all in the same canoe, a better future for the whole world.
The European Investment Bank is contributing up to 75 million US Dollars to this project, alongside our other partners - the Asian Development Bank and the Green Climate Fund. With further input from the Fijian Government, we are working together to deliver a real benefit to more than 220,000 people in the greater Suva area, as well as providing a model to replicate this type of arrangement elsewhere in the world.
Of course, we understand that the formal negotiations are governed by the idea of a party driven process. But we also understand that the rich variety of non-state actors represented in this room have a great deal to contribute to that process. In fact, without the non-state actors, we will fall short of the objectives set by the Parties.
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