Fiji Chairs SIDS Parliamentary Group Meeting at the IPU General Assembly in Geneva

Speaker Hon. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has reminded the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the critical importance of effectively tackling the scourge of climate change in our respective jurisdictions.

Whilst addressing the SIDS Parliamentary Group meeting along the margins of the 148th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly currently underway in Geneva, the Hon. Speaker said that we can work together to galvanise our concerted efforts and support our respective national Governments in advocating the global process, from our vantage positions as Parliamentarians.

“The challenges faced by SIDS due to our vulnerabilities to climate change and sea level rise are not subsiding.”

“The long-term temperature goal of 1.5 degrees benchmark agreed to in Paris in 2015 at COP21 remains elusive. Its adverse impacts are real and devastating in our respective island nations. Tropical cyclones are irregularly occurring with rising intensities.”

The Hon. Speaker highlighted that the SIDS must take stock of the achievement and the challenges faced in terms of our sustainable development aspirations.

“With the lessons learnt over the course of the last 10 years, we all need to come together, bind, and agree on a new agenda to be deliberated upon in Antigua and Barbuda in May.”

“An Agenda which must be action-and-results-oriented, to enable us to achieve the 17 SDGs and “Leave No One Behind” by 2030, and moreover accelerate our collaborative efforts on climate action,” Hon. Ratu Naiqama said.

The Chairperson for SIDS, Hon. Inia Seruiratu said that today’s meeting was a success and he was grateful for the good participation from the member states.

“SIDS is very important, especially under the 1994 Barbados Plan of Action and this year is a very special year for SIDS after its 30th anniversary.”

“Key issues discussed were on climate change, oceans and sustainable development and we are glad of the outcome and look forward to the work of the steering committee that will help us in charting the way forward,” said Hon. Seruiratu.

Singapore Member of Parliament Hon. Vikram Nair was grateful to be part of today’s meeting and to hear from the other SIDS representatives.

“Climate change is an existential issue for all of us, it is a global issue so we need to get some global cooperation but at the same time, take steps in our own country to do what we can.”

The Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of Fiji to the Republic of Indonesia His Excellency Amena Yauvoli joined the meeting virtually and also gave a presentation on the Special Case of SIDS for Environment and Development. This was subsequently followed by a question and answer session.

The SIDS meeting was attended by the Speakers from the Parliaments of Fiji, Tonga, Timor-Leste, Seychelles, Vanuatu and Jamaica and Members of Parliament from Singapore, Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau.