Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola's Speech at the Opening of the SPREP Fiji Office
Honorary Counsul of the Federal Republic of Germany - Mr. David Aidney
Officials from the various CROP agencies
Ladies & Gentlemen
Bula vinaka and a good evening to you all.
It is my esteemed pleasure to be here this evening on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Fiji to deliver the opening address on the occasion for the official opening of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Office in our Capital – Suva.
Just last month SPREP and the Government of Fiji signed a Host Country Agreement. It gave me great pleasure then to sign that agreement as it established hosting rights and the formalization of SPREP's Fiji Office. Today we gather to celebrate the official opening of SPREP's country office here in Thurston St, Suva.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we now have the new sustainable development agenda. The environmental focus within this agenda is an area that was strongly advocated and supported by the Fiji government. As entailed in our Green Growth Framework, I quote:
"Fiji will continue to honour its commitment towards sustainable development and recognise that the post-2015 Global Development Agenda will shift international focus from the human/social focused Millennium Development Goals, to Sustainable Development Goals, which will span the whole of the development agenda"
We value the role that SPREP plays in helping us to place our development on a more environmentally sustainable pathway. We also acknowledge SPREP's leading role in the region in the field of climate change. At the signing of the Paris Agreement in New York in April this year, the Hon. PM Bainimarama declared Climate Change as the single largest developmental challenge for Fiji and other Small Island Developing States.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Government of Fiji is proud of its association with SPREP. SPREP continues to deliver on its mandate which is to promote cooperation in the Pacific Region in assisting us in protecting and improving the natural environment so as to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations.
The establishment of the SPREP office in Fiji today has been made possible by support provided by the German government under its project: 'Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change'. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the German Government for their support and express our gratitude that Fiji has been selected as the operational base for this important sub-regional project.
With changing climate patterns as recently seen with Tropical Cyclones Winston and Pam, we need to appreciate, recognize and appreciate the role played by our natural ecosystems such as our coral reefs, forests and mangroves in strengthening our resilience. We are glad that the PEBACC project will strengthen climate change adaptation planning in seeking to harness the potential of healthy ecosystems and biodiversity to strengthen social and ecological resilience.
Ladies and gentlemen, we need to appreciate that our natural resources are the basis of all life. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat - we cannot survive without them. A healthy and a resilient environment is the way forward. Our natural resources are under increasing pressure from unsustainable land use practises and economic activities. The important work of SPREP and indeed all our development partners on this journey is recognized and greatly appreciated and we look forward to a continued and enduring partnership.
I wish the SPREP Fiji Office all the best with its operations under the current leadership of Project Manager Mr. Herman Timmerman. The Government of Fiji is confident of the good work that SPREP Fiji will be doing in the region.
Vinaka vakalevu and congratulations with the opening of your office.