3 May 2017

'Don't let the whole side down': Bainimarama

9:02 am on 3 May 2017

Fiji's prime minister Frank Bainimarama has asked his Australian counterpart to press Donald Trump over climate change.

A UN climate conference on November 18 appealed to the "pragmatism" of president-elect Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull the US out of a global pact to rein in global warming.

A man poses with a sign during a demonstration against US President Donald Trump's vow to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, in London last November. Photo: Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

Malcolm Turnbull is due to meet the American president on Thursday in New York.

Mr Bainimarama, who is in Australia, said he has asked Mr Turnbull to reinforce his earlier message to Mr Trump for the US to stay in the Paris Agreement and to continue to take a leadership role.

The prime ministers of Fiji and Australia Frank Bainimarama and Malcolm Turnbull at the Australian PM's Sydney residence

The prime ministers of Fiji and Australia - Frank Bainimarama and Malcolm Turnbull - at the Australian PM's Sydney residence Photo: Fiji Government

In his speech in Melbourne at the opening of the 4th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit Mr Bainimarama said his message was simple.

He called on the president not to let the side down by leaving the Paris Agreement when there was a clear game plan and so many scores on board.

US President Donald Trump speaks after signing an executive order on the country's farming industry 25/04/2017

US President Donald Trump Photo: AFP

He said Fiji's priority, as president of the COP23 climate change talks in Bonn in November, was to build a grand coalition of governments, civil society and the private sector to defend the agreement and come up with an action plan.

Mr Bainimarama said the response to Fiji's appeal for funds for its presidency had been disappointing and he said he had appealed for more assistance.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama speaking at the 4th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit in Melbourne, May 2017

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama speaking at the 4th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit in Melbourne. Photo: Supplied/Fiji Government

He appealed for everyone to keep up the momentum over dealing with climate change.

"Where governments fail to lead, the private sector must do so - as is happening already in America.

"Where the call to action goes unheeded, civil society must mobilise ordinary people to turn up the pressure. And where politicians deny the magnitude of the challenge we face, men and women must use their power at the ballot box to replace them," Frank Bainimarama said.

High tides in Marshall Islands in March 2016 hit a seawall.

High tides in Marshall Islands in March 2016 hit a seawall. Photo: RNZI/Giff Johnson

Mr Bainimarama also appealed to developed nations to follow through commitments over climate finance.

He said there were three critical areas where the private sector could help - more finance for adaptation, new investment for areas like renewable energy and access to water and more affordable access to insurance cover for climate-related events.

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