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By Pita Ligaiula in Apia, Samoa
The 52 member states of the Commonwealth have expressed support for Fiji's Presidency in the upcoming climate change talks in Bonn Germany in November.
Speaking to regional journalists in Apia, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland says Fiji’s leadership of COP23 is a great opportunity for the voices of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) to be heard.
“Absolutely I think this is the first time for a small island state to be given the opportunity to lead the UNFCCC COP meeting.
“COP23 is a very important one because it’s a COP that is going to look at action. And I think if people are to understand the existential threat posed to Small Island States, then it’s important for us to be able to shape that narrative to help people better understand the immediacy of it. I think the fact that Fiji is doing this, is hugely important.
“It’s a great opportunity for the whole of the Pacific and I know that Fiji has said they are the voice on behalf of all their Pacific brother and sisters. They’ve also very generously made it clear that they are the voice of all the small island states.
He said the Commonwealth fully supports Fiji's presidency of COP23.
“The 52 states of the Commonwealth have been totally supportive all these years ...I think it’s hugely important that Fiji is taking the stance in having the courage, fortitude and the vision not only to put itself forward to lead COP but to actually lead.
“And we in the Commonwealth will do whatever we can to support Fiji in that and to support our members in the Pacific and in the Caribbean in particular to make the voice of the small states better heard,” she said.
SG Scotland is attending the Forum Leaders Meeting as an observer. This is her first Pacific Islands Forum meeting since she was appointed as Secretary General of the Commonwealth.
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