Fiji has outlined its leadership priorities ahead of its Presidency of COP 23 – the UN negotiations on climate change – on day one of a three-day meeting (30 Jan. – 1 Feb.) between Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and a delegation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) led by its Executive Secretary, Ms. Patricia Espinosa.

The meeting also included Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Minister for Agriculture and National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu – who is Fiji’s designated Climate Action Champion – and the Permanent Secretaries for the Office of the Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs, Civil Service, Environment, and Economy.

At the meeting, Fiji updated the UNFCCC on its preparatory work to meet the duties and responsibilities leading up the COP Presidency and its agenda for the upcoming negotiations.

Prime Minister Bainimarama identified climate adaptation finance, effective monitoring of adherence through the rulebook to the Paris Agreement and the objectives of the Climate Action Agenda as key issue areas for the Fijian presidency.

“Our Presidency will keep the interests of all nations – including those that are low-lying and vulnerable – at the forefront of our negotiations. We are also focused on turning the words and commitments of the Paris Agreement into measurable actions on the part of all nations, and are calling for transparent systems of accountability and practical outcomes to ensure the agreement is a success,” he said.

Prime Minister Bainimarama also pointed to the need for greater engagement from the private sector, NGOs and civil society in support of Fiji’s global effort to boost access to climate finance and reduce climate risks to developing economies.

Fiji will serve as the President of the COP 23 negotiations to be held in Bonn, Germany from 6-17 November 2017, making history as the first-ever small island state to hold the Presidency.