Climate change action at the national level can succeed if there is stronger engagement between the executive and legislative branches of government and between parliaments and civil society on the climate change agenda.
Speaker of the Fijian Parliament Hon. Dr Jiko Luveni made this comment while addressing more than two hundred delegates from 51 countries during the IPU Parliamentary meeting on the occasion of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23) held at the University of Bonn.
“Parliaments need to be constantly and honestly be informed of successes and failures, plans and innovations, and constraints and opportunities by those agencies of government that are tasked with implementing climate change action.”
“Similarly, the agencies need to hear from us parliamentarians, who are listening to the people who elected us, and learning of needs and interests that must be addressed. Whether it be disaster risk-reduction or strengthening the renewable energy sector, parliaments need to be involved not simply as scrutinizers, but effective contributors to good policy and law.”
Hon. Dr Luveni reiterated the statement by the Fijian Prime Minister and COP 23 President Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama’s statement to the UN General Assembly in September that “governments alone cannot meet the challenges of climate change. Grand Coalition of governments at every level, civil society, the private sector and ordinary citizens”.
“I strongly support this view and wholeheartedly believe that parliaments and parliamentarians should share in this responsibility and be part of the Grand Coalition,” Hon. Dr Luveni said.
She highlighted that the global actions on climate change involve international agreements that often require national legislations and policies.
“As we are aware, the Paris Agreement and SDG 13, which cover climate change, have certain commitments that national governments have made.”
“These often necessitate national policy changes or legislative reform that requires amendments to existing legislation or adoption of new ones.”
Speaker also reminded members of parliament that their role is very important as they are in a position to appropriately scrutinize how government is responding to national and international climate change issues.
Meanwhile, Fijian Prime Minister and President of COP23 Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama, was the Special Guest at the event and delivered the opening address.