Honourable Ministers,
Your Excellencies,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen

Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

This is a very important day for Fiji – the launch of our official logo for COP 23, which will be seen by billions of people around the world in the lead-up to the UN Climate negotiations in Bonn in November.

I’m delighted to be joined by the visiting German State Secretary for the Environment, Mr Jochen Flasbarth and the other members of his delegation.

And before we move to the official launch of the logo, I’d like to officially welcome him to Fiji on behalf of the Fijian Government and the Fijian people.

Sir, it’s wonderful to have you here in Suva. And I would ask you to convey to your own government and the German people our warmest thanks for the support that Germany is giving Fiji as we prepare for COP 23.

As many of you know, Fiji is the incoming president and I will be presiding over the deliberations in November. But there was no way that we could accommodate the more than 20-thousand people who are expected at COP here in Fiji. So Germany is very generously hosting the conference in Bonn and is picking up the cost of doing so – some 70-million Euros or 155-million Fijian dollars.

It is a wonderful gesture and especially when the German Government has said that it wants this to be a Fijian COP and has offered to pay for our branding of the event – the Fijian performers and cultural items and artifacts that we will take to Bonn to infuse COP 23 with the Bula spirit. Sir, vinaka vakalevu, as we say in Fiji, for your wonderful generosity. And I want to say publicly that Fiji will be working closely with Germany and the UNFCCC to make COP 23 an unqualified success.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re joined by Shaenaz Voss from Fiji Airways, our very successful national airline, which has generously donated the prizes for our logo competition. Shaenaz has 84-million reasons to be smiling after the recent announcement of the record profit for Fiji Airways.

And I also ask her to pass on our warmest appreciation to the Chief Executive Officer of Fiji Airways, Mr Andre Viljoen, and the rest of the management and staff of Fiji Airways, not only for these prizes but for making us all so proud of our airline. Fiji Airways is committed to supporting Fiji’s Presidency of COP 23 and have not only donated the prizes for the logo competition, but will also be placing the logo on one of its planes, and we thank them for their support.

Ladies and Gentlemen, now to the announcement of the winner of our national logo competition and the unveiling of the winning design.

It is my great pleasure as Prime Minister and incoming President of COP 23 to announce that the winner is Mrs Ronna Sekiguchi of the Fijian design company – the Greenhouse Studio.

Ronna, please step forward while I tell everyone your story. Ronna was born in the Philippines and came to Fiji in 2004. She’s been a Fijian citizen since 2010. And in 2014, she founded the Greenhouse Studio, which employs seven people and has created a range of other logos for companies and institutions.

And, ladies and gentlemen, the final design is based on her entry into the competition – a logo that will be seen around the world in the coming months and a logo that every Fijian can be proud of.

Please put your hands together for our winner. And I’m very proud that Fiji has the talent to design such a world class product.

As you can see, it captures perfectly the vulnerability to climate change of a small island developing state like Fiji. The island partially submerged and a huge wave bearing down on it. The wave – as you can see – is also in the form of a cyclone, with that eye in the middle. So especially in light of our experience with Cyclone Winston last year that caused so much heartbreak, this is a very stark and effective message to take to the world. The need for us all to come together to build partnerships for climate action between governments, civil society and the private sector. And work together to improve the climate resilience of vulnerable nations such as Fiji.

We are not just sitting here in the Pacific bearing the brunt – along with our neighbours - of some of the worst effects of climate change. With our Presidency of COP-23, we have been entrusted with the task of leading the world in the next phase of these negotiations. To preserve the multilateral consensus contained in the Paris Agreement for decisive cuts in carbon emissions. And keep up the momentum for its implementation with a wave of climate action that every global citizen can join.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I know we said in the ad for our logo competition that we would have only one winner. But we got so many great submissions that I’m very pleased to also announce two runners-up. Two young Fijians whose entries also featured the theme of a wave and who are both with us today.

Shiristy Singh is from Adi Cakobau School and Mark Philitoga is from the Nadi Muslim Primary School.

Shiristy and Mark, please step forward and hold up your designs. And, Ladies and Gentlemen, please give them both a round of applause.

I’m also very pleased to say that not only is Fiji Airways giving our winner Ronna a trip for two anywhere on the airline’s network, but it has stumped up another two prizes for our runner-ups. Shiristy and Mark, you both have the choice of a trip for two to either Australia or New Zealand. And I hope you both have a wonderful time.

So can I ask Shaenaz Voss to please present our winner and our two runners-up with their prizes.

Vinaka Shaenaz. Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s the end of our formal proceedings but I invite you all to stay on for some light refreshments and the chance to meet our winners.

Thank you State Secretary for being with us and I now invite you to say a few words yourself.

My thanks again also to Shaenaz Voss from Fiji Airways. But above all vinaka vakalevu to our winner and our runners-up.

The creative spirit in Fiji is alive and well and that is something that all Fijians can celebrate.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.