20 Nov 2017

Two Fiji initiatives pushed through at COP23

4:46 pm on 20 November 2017

Two climate-related initiatives pushed by Fiji have been agreed on by governments at the just-concluded UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany.

Fiji co-hosted this year's COP23 summit, discussions at which featured a strong Pacific theme as well as messages of the severity of climate impacts on this region.

Tebikenikora, a village in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. September 5 2011

Locals in Tebikenikora, a village in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the area in 2011 to discuss villagers’ concerns about the effects of climate change on their low-lying land. Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The Gender Action Plan highlights the role of women taking part in climate action and promoting gender equality in the process.

The Chief Negotiator for COP23's Presidency, Nazhat Shameen Khan of Fiji, said women played a pivotal role in climate action.

"It is about integration of gender into all the work around climate policy - both nationally and internationally."

The other outcome was the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, which looks into supporting the exchange of experience and sharing of best ways on mitigation and adaptation.

Local communities and indigenous peoples are recognised as being overly affected by climate change impacts as they heavily rely on weak ecosystems for their livelihoods.

As the developed world is reminded at each climate summit, the impacts of climate change are increasingly severe for Pacific islands.

A 12 year old from Fiji Timoci Naulusala, spoke at the summit:

"The question is, what to do? How to do and who to do it? It's not about what, how or who. It's about what you can do as an individual. As parents and teachers, what can you do? As students or leaders, what can you do? It is a terrible problem and it needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority." 0:19

Timoci Naulusala went on to say how in the response to climate change, actions were louder than words.

"Are you ready to face life without earth? Have you contemplate what will happen if we ignore this reality? This nightmare. Speeches and tasks will not solve the problem, but walk the talk is more effective. Let's change our mindset and set a platform in combatting this environmental issue for our next generation." 0:18

Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and President of the COP23 attends the opening session of the COP23 United Nations Climate Change Conference on November 6, 2017 in Bonn, Germany.

Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and President of the COP23 attends the opening session of the COP23 United Nations Climate Change Conference on November 6, 2017 in Bonn, Germany. Photo: AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

Countries agreed two years ago in Paris to work towards capping global average temperature rise at 1.5 degrees.

They also agreed that in 2018 there should be a stock take of how climate action was progressing.

Originally called the "facilitative dialogue", the name of this one-off process in 2018 was changed to "Talanoa dialogue" this year under the Fijian COP presidency.

Meanwhile, Fiji also launched the Ocean Pathway Partnership, which aims to strengthen the inclusion of oceans within the UNFCCC process.