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As Ministers and Chiefs of Defence of our respective states, it is our prerogative to ensure the maintenance of security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of not only our individual States, but also that of our region. We can achieve this through collaboration on defence capability modernization and collective situational analysis and sharing of pertinent, timely and quality information on Defence and Security issues of the past, present and future in forums such as this.
Friends, Fiji no longer presides over the climate negotiations, but we will not take one step back where this climate crisis we are facing is concerned. In fact, we will continue to exert all the leadership we can with all the energy we can muster, and in a few minutes I will share some thoughts on what climate leadership means as we head toward 2020.
It is not for me to lecture the Australian people or express a particular preference. We in Fiji have been grateful to the current government for its support for our COP Presidency and for their larger commitment to “step-up” their presence in the Pacific.  
 I want to give special thanks to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for its early vision and partnership with us. 
I also want to thank the Government of the United Kingdom for its support of the Fiji Rural Electrification Fund. You are the first partner Government to join this initiative, and your support will help us extend clean, renewable energy to more and more communities as we scale this program to the next phase.
 Fiji has set out and stuck with a bold vision for our national progress. United in realising that future, the Fijian people have spurred our economy to ten straight years of economic growth, a new record for Fiji. And we – a nation of 900,000 people – have earned ourselves a proud reputation as a champion for the cause of sustainable development.
The overarching theme of this year's Annual Meeting is "Prosperity Through Unity". So, when we speak to rising tides, let us ensure that the progress we achieve is grounded in inclusivity. Because in truly achieving a sense of unity, the voices of our young people must be at the decision-making table. When it comes to inclusive development, their perspective provides an indispensable part of the dialogue.
The global commitment to achieving sustainable development goals and the continuing battle against climate change are severe challenges for small states like Fiji and many others.
Fiji has the best investment incentives in the region and compares competitively at the global level. We have the lowest corporate taxes, streamlined income tax, the ability to get a maximum of 20-year tax free status (depending on investment amount). Above all, Fiji has a highly talented English-speaking workforce which is very key in any ideal working environment.
I would like to emphasise the importance of Backyard gardening; as it is being arguably, one of many common ways of interacting with nature and an equally enjoyable popular pastime in many countries too. There is also an increasing awareness among researchers and health practitioners of the health benefits derived from backyard gardening activities.
Visitors to this 2-day event will be empowered with new knowledge and skill sets that would enable them to be easily absorbed into the workforce.  
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