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Media Center > Speeches > HON PM BAINIMARAMA'S OPENING REMARKS AT UN HIGH LEVEL FORUM PARTNERSHIP FOR CLIMATE FRIENDLY AND SUS

HON PM BAINIMARAMA'S OPENING REMARKS AT UN HIGH LEVEL FORUM PARTNERSHIP FOR CLIMATE FRIENDLY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: SOUTHERN COUNTRIES IN ACTION

11/15/2017
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bula vinaka, guten morgen, zaoshang hao and a very good morning to you all.

For too long, our global conversation about climate action - especially when it comes to finance and technology - has assumed that all the answers to the big questions lie in the north, among the developed nations.

While we have concentrated political and diplomatic effort to move finance and technology from north to south, the fact is that in the real economy, technology, finance and human resources also move from south to south in very large volumes.

Many of these resources are being supplied by China but there is a very long list of countries in what is called the “Global South” that make significant contributions to the economic development of other nations in the south. There is no time to mention them all here but these contributions are extremely important.

Looking ahead, China’s Belt and Road strategy is a massive infrastructure investment in the future global economy. And if Belt and Road can be a model of green finance - properly taking into account climate change – it will be a very positive contribution to tackling the scale of the climate problem.
In India, if the present remarkable development of solar power continues, there is a good chance that coal consumption will decline. And India will offer an example to the world of the best and most economic way to provide for the power needs of large and growing populations. At the same time, air quality and public health will improve. And both India and China - along with many other countries - understand that pollution has a cost.

India’s pre-eminence in software engineering and the digital economy offers a real possibility of economic gains from the convergence between renewable energy, storage and electrification of transport. And Indian businesses can offer these advances to other countries in the south.

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.

To its credit, China’s ability to plan, innovate and deliver affordable renewable energy has had a beneficial impact on the world. For instance, access to affordable energy in Africa is now possible for people who have never had it before - thanks to what has been achieved in China.

Last year in Morocco, we saw a huge development in solar power that was led by Saudi Arabia. So these are examples - and there are many more across the continents - of south-south technology transfer and investment.

And when it comes to investment, there are also significant pools of capital in the south, capable of making a substantial difference to the sustainable economies of the future. Whether it is sovereign wealth funds, pension funds or corporate and family investors. And with the right leadership, it can be directed to climate friendly and sustainable development that benefits all those we represent.

We in Fiji have our own recent example in the Green Bond we announced at last month’s Pre-COP. A 100-million Fijian dollar bond, of which on 1st November, 40-million Fijian dollars was issued and was over-subscribed by more than double. And for the first time ever, a Fijian dollar denominated bond attracted overseas investment. This was just the first tranche in a series of green bond issuances that we plan to make. And is an example of the way the south can finance its own progress.

Friends, I am very pleased that China has hosted this event to highlight the huge potential in south-south economic co-operation on climate change. It is not sufficiently appreciated how significant this already is and how important it is going to be in all of our futures.

These are not only growing economies but they are rapidly learning economies that are innovating and experimenting with new technologies at a faster rate than ever before. If you look at the mass movement to the cities that is taking place in the south, these cities are becoming test beds for how the world is going to use resources more efficiently and design new ways of living with climate change.

And all this is accompanied by a shift in geo-political power that some may find uncomfortable but is a new global reality.

So we should all be paying attention to this event and its theme and we look forward to hearing from the other speakers.

Vinaka vakalevu, thank you.
 
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