HomeMedia CenterDirectoryFiji LawsPolicy & DevBudgetVacancyAbout Fiji
Latest newsRSS


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bula vinaka, bonjour and a very good afternoon to you all.

It is my great pleasure to be joining you all for this landmark Summit, two years almost to the day since the Paris Agreement.

I spoke at the opening session this morning of the urgent need to accelerate the deployment of both public and private capital in our effort to address climate change. And this afternoon, I welcome the opportunity to focus on the question of how we can scale finance for adaptation and resilience.

The Leaders on this panel are fully aware of the need to make substantial investments in our infrastructure to protect against the danger of climate change. Fiji stressed in our national address at COP23 that despite the commitments on climate finance that have been made, only a small proportion of this finance finds its way into supporting climate adaptation or resilience.

The data on this is clear. For many donors, this is simply regarded as development assistance. And for private sector investors, the absence of an immediate and apparent economic return on their investment means that funding climate adaptation or resilience efforts are rarely pursued.

This raises two important points:

1. First, for developing and vulnerable countries, there is a false distinction between building climate resilience and preparing to adapt to climate change on the one hand, and investing in more traditional infrastructure for economic development on the other. All investments should be evaluated in the light of the new norm of climate disruption. This requires careful planning, design and policies to strengthen and climate-proof the infrastructure our citizens depend on for their livelihoods. We should, therefore, not create artificial distinctions between climate change adaptation and mitigation on one hand and economic development on the other. For many vulnerable developing nations, these are one and the same.

2. Second, we need climate adaptation or resilience investments to be properly valued in such a way that investors can gain a competitive, time-relevant return. Where global businesses recognise the value in future- proofing their supply chains, we can see the business case for such investment. And that is a good start. But greater thinking needs to go into how to define, and then monetise, the investment value for undertaking longer term infrastructure investments that reduce the future risk of loss from climate change. The value for doing so is real, but the financial system has not yet defined that value for investors.

In Fiji's case, we know only too well how vulnerable we are after the biggest cyclone ever to make landfall in the southern hemisphere ripped through our nation last year, killing 44 of our citizens and causing losses equal to one third of our GDP.

In the face of this vulnerability, we are attempting to lead by example. At COP23 we launched - with the support of the Asian Development Bank and Luxembourg - the Pacific Climate Finance and Insurance Incubator, to deliver real investments in the fight against climate change. And on the first of November this year, we launched our Sovereign Green Bond, becoming the first emerging economy to do so, and only the third in the world after Poland and, of course, France. The proceeds from these bonds will be invested in mitigation and adaptation projects.

We are focused on rebuilding and strengthening our infrastructure in a climate resilient way, with blended finance from institutions like the Green Climate Fund and multilateral development banks to supplement the Fijian Government’s own capital investments. And we are developing insurance products for the Pacific region which are currently not available for climate-related events, which could be replicated beyond the region.

We are also working with other countries around the world to develop ways to protect our oceans and finance the long term preservation of our blue carbon systems.

Despite these significant efforts, there remains much to do. To encourage further financial flows into implementing our Nationally Determined Contributions, our "NDCs", including in respect of our adaptation and resilience objectives, we all need to work on converting our NDCs into investment roadmaps. That means developing pipelines of bankable projects out of our NDCs and ensuring our laws, policies and practices give confidence to our partners in both the public and private sector.

We also need to work collectively to develop innovative finance approaches -- to zero in on defining and monetising the value for investors -- which will in turn drive greater investment into adaptation measures. For small island nations such as Fiji, and vulnerable communities around the world, this is of paramount importance.

We need to develop innovative solutions to address climate change. We need to find better ways to finance adaptation and resilience. We welcome and encourage the expeditious transfer of climate-smart innovations and ideas that can assist vulnerable countries that are experiencing climate change on a daily basis.

Above all, we know that no nation, big or small, can solve this challenge alone. We must stay together and work together. All of us who came to this magnificent city just two years ago to chart a new course for our shared future must renew that spirit and commit to the work that lies ahead to protect our One Planet.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

© 2018 Ministry of Communications