Monday, 14 December 2009

Cyclone Prevents Fiji’s Prime Minister from Attending COP 15

Ruci Mafi,  SPC, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen,  14 December - Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama will not attend the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, Denmark as planned. 

His absence is due to the current strike Cyclone Mick has made to the Fiji Islands in the Pacific.

“The Prime Minister felt that the nation needed him back home at this trying time as our people brace themselves to rebuild their lives after the devastations made by Cyclone Mick,” said Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Fiji’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

Schools and government offices have been closed while communication infrastructure disrupted to the Pacific island nation as negotiators battle to settle for a better deal in Denmark.

“The communication was made to us this morning that our Prime Minister will not be able to attend the high level ministerial meeting to endorse the final outcomes of COP 15,” Ratu Inoke said.

The cyclone has brought closer to the Fiji delegation the realities of dealing with climate change issues and in coming up with a robust deal that will look at issues like rebuilding nations and rehabilitation processes after this.

“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. And the burden on our negotiators is now far greater given the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters like Cyclone Mick,” Ratu Inoke said. 

People on the main island of Viti Levu are bracing for the worst as they are in the direct path of cyclone.  

“Our people on the main island which is home to the capital city of Suva and home to over 200,000 people have secured their property, stocked food and emergency supplies while those living in low lying areas that are prone to floods have moved to higher grounds,” Ratu Inoke said.

The ministry of agriculture has issued an advisory to stakeholders particularly to farmers in the  sector to work at minimizing long lasting damage to their crops and livestock.

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