0800 – 1000hrs Breakfast event, UNHQ West Terrace
Small Island Developing States responding to climate impacts and planning for sustainable future. Leadership, Innovation and Partnership
Organizers: AOSIS with UNDP & EU

Your Excellency Dr. Mohamed Asim, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives
Your Excellency Miguel Arias Cañete, European Union Commissioner for Climate Change
Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator
Ms. Fekita 'Utoikamanu Under Secretary General of OHRLLS
Excellencies and honoured guests.

A very good morning and a warm bula vinaka to you all.
I am very honoured to be here at this very important breakfast event and to be given the opportunity to share some thoughts with you on the important topic we are gathered here to discuss.

The main purpose of this breakfast gathering is to showcase and highlight the climate action initiatives demonstrated by SIDS. This immediately grabbed my attention because as the COP23 High-level Champion one of my primary responsibilities is to engage with all actors to accelerate climate action.

Ladies and Gentlemen, colleagues, it is clear to me that there is a need for more awareness and understanding on the Global Climate Action Agenda across a broad front. Of what it is and of what it is trying to achieve.

We need to do much more to convey the sense of urgency the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action represents – the urgency to accelerate climate action; the urgency to seek out innovative solutions and implement transformative and sustainable initiatives; the urgency to pull everyone together to join this massive effort; and the urgency to put in place enabling mechanisms to make it all possible.

Only then can we meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, including our goal to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees above that of the industrial age.
As high-level champion of the Fiji COP23 Presidency, I am committed to communicating this sense of urgency widely to all levels of government, to investors and financing institutions, to the private sector, to civil society organisations, and to local communities.

We need to engage with this broad spectrum of stakeholders to ensure that innovative and transformative technologies reach our islands and are adapted to our circumstances and needs.
Friends, the Fijian COP23 Presidency stands with the AOSIS family in firmly focussing on the target of limiting global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius above that of the pre-industrial age. We fully recognise that to achieve this, the world must reach net-zero emissions in the next handful of decades and not wait for the latter half of the century. For small island states like ours, and for all vulnerable nations, this is an imperative and a minimum achievement.

As the incoming Presideny, we are also firm in our belief on the need to increase our resilience as the world works toward reaching and then maintaining a net-zero carbon world. Resilience is taken in the context of overall sustainable mitigation and adaptation efforts.
For us as small island nations, we need to optimise the technologies and initiatives brought to our islands. We need to ensure that synergies are created between adaptation and mitigation technologies and initiatives – so that local communities get maximum benefit from either initiative.

For instance, a solar energy project in the islands needs to extend it services to health centre facilities, schools and other essential service centres. This is what builds true resilience – a holistic approach where mitigation and adaptation efforts are not taken in isolation but serve to complement each other.
In July this year, I hosted the Climate Action Pacific Partnership conference in Suva, Fiji, which brought together more than 200 participants with an almost equal representation from government, international and regional organisations, the private sector, and civil society groups.
The conference was a huge success, resulting in an outcomes report with detailed recommendations to accelerate climate action in the Pacific.

Participants of the conference expressed the need to unlock real short-term outcomes in renewable energy, sustainable transport, forest and ocean management, climate smart-agriculture, health, water security and more.
The Pacific representatives also made a clear statement on the need for increased investment to implement and enhance nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
It was recognised that a country’s NDC can be a useful framework to streamline different objectives – where various climate actions and SDG strategies in different sectors are aligned. This can be very significant in the way it organises and gives a common focus to various sectoral plans that include mitigation and adaptation activities.
This also means a more defined approach for climate financing and reporting.
In other words, ladies and gentlemen, whilst we will continue to push for more ambitious contributions and actions from the big emitters, we the vulnerable small island states will use our NDCs as a lever to increase support and strengthen means of implementation.
This is why the COP23 Presidency is calling for increased support to SIDS for the enhancement and the implementation of their NDCs. This should contribute to the strengthening of our resiliency, and to not focusing on emissions reduction alone.
In the Pacific, we have recognised that such support can be achieved through a regional NDC support mechanism, and the Fijian COP23 Presidency is undertaking efforts toward this goal.
It is clear that non-party actors, like the private sector and local governments, can play a crucial role in enhancing and adding value to current NDCs. And so I urge our SIDS Parties to engage with non-Party stakeholders in the planning review, implementation, financing and evaluation of your NDCs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the July conference also resulted in the establishment of the Climate Action Pacific Partnership.
This partnership will be linked to other global coalitions and alliances as part of the Grand Coalition for more ambitious action at every level and in every sector. I look forward to your support and involvement in this Pacific Partnership.

The various consultations and meetings with both Parties and non-Parties during the year has revealed a clear expectation for the Champions to support the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue by bringing forward the inputs of non-state actors.

The Facilitative Dialogue is expected to assess progress on mitigation efforts; identify relevant opportunities to enhance the provision of financial resources; support the development and transfer of technology; and promote capacity building.
The experiences, lessons, best practices, and reporting from non-Parties stakeholders is invaluable to this process.
The high-level champions are here to help facilitate this process through our mandated reporting processes; by working with the UNFCCC technical examination process; and by utilising other relevant mechanisms. Going into COP23, this role and engagement of non-Parties will be recognised.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to develop a relationship where everyone agrees on the urgency to unite for climate action.
And this will be done in the spirit of Talanoa that the COP23 Presidency is advocating. If you are from the Pacific, you will be very familiar with the talanoa concept.

Talanoa is about people coming together to exchange ideas, express opinions, share knowledge, and most importantly, foster relationships and build trust, empathy and understanding. Through talanoa a safe and all-inclusive space of mutual respect is created.

Ladies and Gentlemen, with those few words please let me conclude by thanking you for the wisdom and advice that AOSIS has already provided to the Fijian Presidency and by calling for your continued support as we head toward Bonn in November. I look forward to us all uniting for climate action – further, faster, together.
We do this for the sake of our small island states, for the sake of all vulnerable communities and for the sake of all the people of the world. Because at the end of the day we are all vulnerable and we all must act.

Vinaka vakalevu
Thank you