15 Dec 2009

Cyclone keeps Fiji's Prime Minister from Copenhagen

10:04 am on 15 December 2009

Fiji's interim Prime Minister has announced he will not attend the climate change conference in Copenhagen because of Cyclone Mick.

But Fiji's leaders say the cyclone brings home the reality of climate change issues.

Jo O'Brien reports

"Commodore Frank Bainimarama had been expected to attend high level meetings at Copenhagen to endorse the final outcomes of the conference. But Fiji's Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabula says the cyclone has prevented this. Ratu Inoke says the cyclone has brought home the importance of coming up with a robust deal at Copenhagen that will look at issues such as rehabilitating nations after natural disasters."

He says the Meteorological Department is predicting another nine cyclones in the coming year and the implications on food and water security to countries like Fiji in the Pacific is enormous. He says the burden on Fiji's negotiators is now far greater given the increased frequency and severity of events like Cyclone Mick. Fiji's Ministry of Agriculture has issued an advisory to farmers and others in the sector to work at minimizing long lasting damage to their crops and livestock."