Samoa confident in Fiji’s C.O.P. 23 leadership

Pacific Islands, including Samoa, will benefit from Fiji as Presidency of United Nations Climate Change Conference (C.O.P. 23) in Bonn, Germany this week.

That is the belief of Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, who is leading the Samoan delegation.

During an interview with the Samoa Observer yesterday, Fiame said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was supposed to travel to Rome and Bonn, Germany, however he was unwell.

“He has been doing the Climate Change since 2014 because the whole push towards the Paris Agreement warranted the leaders to be coming, but then he was unwell and it was an opportunity, so I came,” said Fiame. 

She said having Fiji at the helm of the C.O.P 23 summit is good for the Pacific.

“It’s more about Pacific profile,” she said. “That’s really what this is all about, not only the Pacific but also the Small Island States. 

“Samoa thinks that we are a volcanic island, so the loss of land doesn’t seem as urgent. 

“However for many of the Pacific countries, the threat is very imminent when you look at the loss of land and sovereignty. 

“So yes the Fijian presidency will carry the particular plight of Small Island Developing States especially the Pacific, and they are promoting the talanoa spirit in terms of discussions. 

“The talanoa is really to express your opinion and it’s also a respectful way and it’s also done in a friendly way, whether it’s in a context of family meeting or community meeting. 

Fiame also commended the work done by Climate Change Hero, the late Ambassador Tony De Brum who was honored during a memorial service at the C.O.P. 23. 

De Brum has been an advocate for nuclear disarmament and for giving the Marshall Islands, in the central Pacific, an outsize voice in global climate-change negotiations.

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