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We seek a commitment from all 7.5 billion people on earth to join our crusade to improve the quality of our oceans. Let us all seize this moment in history to make a difference. To place SDG 14 at the very top of the global agenda alongside decisive climate action. We can do it. We must do it. Because the alternative in both cases is catastrophe.
As incoming President of COP23 and also cohost of the UN Oceans Conference this week, I especially want to thank the Mayor and people of New York for standing shoulder to shoulder with us on this issue. Because it affects every person on earth, just as the health of our oceans and seas is critical to every human being and is why we are all gathered here today.
I pray that this new centre serves this community well. I pray that the Fijian people can find warmth and peace in its halls and facilities. And I pray that we all continue to find the strength, to live out the teachings of Christ to protect the vulnerable in our society, and build a better world for all those who come after us.
Fiji will always be grateful to all Governments and their respective peoples who came to Fiji’s aid in the aftermath of TC Winston. Our rehabilitation efforts would have been more complicated and protracted without their support.
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. 
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