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Over the past decade, I’ve been all across the Northern Division opening new development projects at a rate that no government before has ever achieved. New water taps, new electrification projects, new roads, and new bridges, ports and jetties, We’ve expanded access to critical services, bringing better quality healthcare and expanding the reach of essential Government services as well, just last month we commissioned a massive new submarine cable project that will bring high speed telecommunications across your entire division, and I’ve opened new and upgraded school facilities, built to a higher cyclone-resilient standard, as we’re doing again today.
Over the years, IUCN has amassed numerous achievements, strengthening its commitment at the international as well as the regional level in the areas of protection of threatened animal and plant species, World Heritage conservation, the management of protected areas, and sustainable development, among others. Since year 2000, IUCN has continued to innovate with a focus on nature-based solutions, expanding the role of indigenous peoples in conservation, and launching new initiatives such as Save our Species and the Bonn Challenge. The joint effort between IUCN, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the World Wide Fund for Nature, almost three decades ago, had resulted in the release of the World Conservation Strategy that helped define the term “sustainable development”. The result of this determined effort and the call from IUCN members in 1988, was the production of national conservation strategies by numerous countries.
We’ve already achieved a record nine straight years of economic growth for Fiji. And following the blueprint set out by these strategic development plans, with our efforts driven by a streamlined and more efficient Ministry, we’ll be bringing more iTaukei people into the fold of our national development and our economic prosperity. We’re already seeing new investment, new businesses and new development sweep across the country, and that all brings new opportunity.  
Historically, amid the devastation and carnage in the battlefields of France after the First World War, the Red Poppy was one of the first plants that sprang up signifying hope of a new beginning but it is a testament of the blood, sweat and tears of those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy today. Freedom that many of us take for granted! 
There is no doubt that the Fijian people have a strong and abiding love for freedom. We want to live free, and we see freedom, democracy and—perhaps most important of all—tolerance as powerful forces for peace in the world. 
Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced on a global scale. And whether you’re a small island state, or a large industrial power, we must all do more than our fair share if we are to avert climate catastrophe for our planet.
Non-communicable diseases are critically problematic around the world, but in small island developing states, the urgency is even more evident. That’s why my Government has pledged action, and is taking a holistic approach to finding solutions that will turn the tide for a healthier, happier, and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.
As part of this comprehensive, whole-of-economy approach, we have identified the potential evolution of these sectors in business-as-usual, high-ambition, and very-high-ambition scenarios. This has included identifying feasible low-carbon development options that have the potential to reduce carbon emissions, enhance carbon sinks and build resilience. We will announce the full details of this strategy at COP24.  
While it seems we must wait for more of the world to wake up to this simple fact, we certainly cannot afford to wait to take action at home. That is why, in the last few years, Fiji – with the help of forward-looking partners – has launched a number of ground-breaking initiatives to stand up to this threat and build the resilience of our infrastructure, communities and natural environment.  
I believe that we have a great team representing our beloved nation in as many areas as we could possibly have. Congratulations once again to all of you.
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