Sunday, June 04, 2017

Fiji and World Environment Day


World Environment Day
June 05
Today, the Fijian people join citizens from all around the world to celebrate World Environment Day. We can all be proud that we come together at a time when Fiji is leading the world to defend our natural environment from two of the greatest threats it has ever faced – the degradation of our oceans and seas, and the disastrous impacts of climate change.
I am currently in New York, where Fiji is co-hosting the first-ever United Nations Conference on Oceans. And in November of this year, I will be heading to Bonn, Germany to preside over the global negotiations on climate change, known as COP23.
Our oceans are home to most of the life on our planet and make up three quarters of the Earth’s surface. Oceans support the life of every person on earth and, for the Fijian people, our identity and well-being are tied intimately to the health of our oceans and marine resources.
Over the next several days in New York, Fiji will drive the international effort to reduce pollution and over fishing in our oceans – threats that strike at the heart of the Fijian way of life.  And I am fully committed to preserving the health of our oceans, for the sake of every Fijian, and every global citizen.
The destructive impacts of climate change also present a serious threat to our natural environment, as low-lying coastal areas are being washed away by rising seas, and increased global temperatures threaten the survival of all life on earth. Later this year, at COP23, Fiji will rally the world to defend and implement the Paris Agreement, so we can spare our world from the worst effects of climate change and give vulnerable nations a fighting chance to adapt to the climate-related effects we are already experiencing.
It is a tremendous honour and responsibility for Fiji, as the world looks to us to lead on issues of such importance to the protection of our environment. But to be true champions on these issues, we must treat out own islands with the same respect we are asking from the rest of the world.
I urge every Fijian to take time today to renew our commitment to take responsibility for our surroundings. We are lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and we should be an example to the world on environmental stewardship. If you see someone litter, tell them to stop. And if you see anyone violating our laws that protect our environment, report them, so we can safeguard our oceans and our islands today, and leave them in better condition for future generations.
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

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