Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad spoke at the recent World Bank Pre-Spring virtual Meeting, during which he emphasised on the need for greater support in addressing the repeated climate catastrophes that continues to threaten stability and cohesion in many island states like Fiji.
Ambassador Prasad joined the Senior Advisor to US Presidential Envoy on Climate, Dr Jonathan Pershing, Sweden’s Minister for Development, Per Olsson Fridh, and World Bank’s Managing Director Axle van Trotsenburg to discuss the compounding impacts of climate change on institutions and societies across the world.
Reflecting on the crisis induced challenges in Fiji, Ambassador Prasad said that over a 10 year period, Fiji alone had faced over 12 cyclones, with 3 cyclones alone in the last 12 months.
He emphasised that recovery from repeated climate catastrophes since 2021 have cost the Fijian economy more than $500 million in damages. Over the past decade Fiji has faced several billion dollars worth of damages.
“Fiji’s is not an exceptional story in the Pacific. The same has played out across the region. Development institutions cannot be numb to the scale of the impacts of these on small states”.
Ambassador Prasad said that relocating vulnerable communities is a challenging process that small island nations have to confront. 
“These are heartbreaking calls that communities are making across the Pacific every day. These are difficult conversations that Government’s hold everyday with vulnerable communities across the Pacific every day”.
In terms of enhancing partnership potentials, Ambassador Prasad called on Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries to support the World Bank efforts to “scale up its support to countries like Fiji, Vanuatu, Bahamas and Mozambique and to expand their response to the compounding impacts of climate catastrophes especially on the most vulnerable in such countries through instruments such as Inter-Development Financing (IDA) and the Catastrophe funding windows of IDA”.
Senior Adviser to the US Climate Envoy, Dr Jonathan Pershing reminded the World Bank that “US also faces climate catastrophes with growing frequency and growing intensity”. He said that the difference between Fiji and the US was that the US was able to respond to these disasters far more substantively than Fiji and similar and countries can ever do”.
Dr Pershing reassured the World Bank that the US Administration will be strengthening its support and commitment to climate action.
World Bank Pre-Spring Meeting was organised in the build up to the 2021 Spring Meetings will take place virtually from Monday, April 5, through Sunday, April 11, 2021. Fiji will chair the World Banks Small States Forum which will be held on 10th April 2021.
Spring Meetings participants typically include approximately 2,800 delegates from member countries.