Archive for the Press Release Category

PM STATEMENT ON FIJI VICTORY AT RIO OLYMPICS

This is a wonderful moment in the history of our nation. We have won our first Gold Medal at a summer Olympic Games and every Fijian is rejoicing at home and around the world.

We all convey our warmest congratulations to our World Champion Rugby Sevens team on this magnificent achievement. We have all witnessed how much effort you have put into this campaign. And we salute you both for your victory and for being wonderful ambassadors for Fiji.

I especially want to thank coach Ben Ryan and team captain Osea Kolinisau for their inspiring leadership. It has been a great privilege for me as Prime Minister to be present in Rio De Janeiro on behalf of the Fijian people to provide our collective encouragement and support. I have witnessed at first hand the commitment and discipline that has produced this victory and have been deeply impressed and proud.

A wonderful reception awaits our boys when they arrive back in Fiji. Never before has the Fijian spirit soared so high as it does today. Never have we stood so tall as a nation. So let us rededicate ourselves to the task of building our beloved Fiji. One nation, one people, playing an even greater role in the region and the world.

The march of Team Fiji – of every Fijian – continues.

-ENDS-

HON PM VOREQE BAINIMARAMA’S WELCOME REMARKS AT THE PIDF LEADERS SUMMIT

Excellencies,
Honourable Ministers,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Pacific Island Development Forum, it is my distinct pleasure to join the host country in welcoming you to this important gathering. Our warm thanks and appreciation go to the Hon Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Mr. Manasseh Sogovare, his Government and the people of Solomon Islands for the warm hospitality they have extended to us all.

I would also like to acknowledge Mr. Francois Martel, the Secretary General of the PIDF, and his capable staff for their excellent work in organising this annual meeting.

We are gathered here today not just as governments, but as one Pacific people, because the PDIF was founded as a place where governments, NGOs, the business community, foundations, the academic community and ordinary citizens can freely exchange ideas—all with the goal of solving our region’s most pressing problems.

Our organisation is maturing rapidly, with a membership that reflects the breadth and richness of Pacific island cultures, economies and experiences. From the first day, we have been organised for action. We have focused very specifically and practically on finding solutions for green growth and sustainable development. And we have had the wisdom to know that government cannot achieve that alone.

And we are also a political voice. In our short life so far, PIDF has established itself as a worthy and respected international institution that honestly represents the interests of its members to the world. This is our organisation, our forum, and our collective and undiluted voice.

As usual, we have come to Honiara to not just talk. We are here to work—to understand the difficult problems confronting us and to develop the most practical and immediate ways to solve them.

During our last Summit, we produced the Suva Declaration, which became our Pacific-island appeal to the world’s conscience. And that appeal came with our demand–that we would take on our shoulders more than our fair share of the burden of arresting global warming, but that temperature rise must be limited to one-and-a-half degrees centigrade, because a two-degree limit was inadequate and unacceptable.

We made ourselves heard, but we are only at the beginning of a long and gruelling uphill struggle. We in the Pacific have chosen to lead that struggle. It is an honour, but it was never a choice. Our very existence depends on the decisions the world makes, and we can’t leave those decisions in the hands of others.

We are in Honiara today to build on that commitment. The goal to limit temperature rise to a 1.5 degrees seems very difficult to achieve under the current predictions, so our mission is more urgent than ever. We need to redouble our efforts, unite more closely, and set an example for the world. Ironically, our efforts, and our leadership, will not just be for our benefit and our children’s future; they will be for the benefit of the entire planet.

Next June, Fiji will co-host, with Sweden, the World Conference on Seas and Oceans. So we are dedicating time in this Summit for a vigorous discussion of the very lifeblood of our region: the ocean that weaves our islands together, the ocean that our ancestors sailed to reach our shores, that feeds us, that sustains our economies and is part of our culture. Our oceans are threatened, and with them all the life that depends on them. We must take action now, for ourselves and for our children’s children.

This year’s Leader’s Summit is also significant because the Chair will pass from Fiji to Solomon Islands, the first country to hold the chair besides Fiji. This shows that our organisation is evolving and maturing. We are a positive force, and we are meeting a very important need in the regional architecture.

Our Pacific unity and our Pasifika spirit are our strength. Let the Pacific voices be heard.

Welcome all to the Honiara PIDF Leaders’ Summit 2016.

Vinaka, Thank you.

PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER ON PARIS AGREEMENT

Fiji welcomes the new climate change agreement adopted in Paris late in the evening of Saturday 12 December at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). This deal represents a huge step forward for humanity in combatting climate change.

The Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus among the 196 signatory states to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and was the result of intense negotiations and compromises made by all parties involved.

When I made my statement at the start of the conference two weeks ago, we made clear that the Suva Declaration formed the basis of what Fiji expected the Paris Agreement to reflect. The key elements that Fiji and the Alliance of Small Island States pursued throughout the negotiations included the need for a legally binding agreement, limits that brought the global average temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and the establishment of a stand-alone loss-and-damage mechanism.

I’d like to thank all of our Pacific Islands leaders for their support during the negotiations – by remaining united in the face of opposition, we together brought our collective plight the global attention it deserves. I would also like to thank our development partners, such as the European Union for helping prepare us for COP21 and providing us moral support in our efforts to secure the best deal possible

Many of the positions supported by Fiji have been adopted in the new Paris Agreement, including, for the first time, language on loss and damage. This establishes a framework for Fiji and other small island states to ensure the survival of our islands.

The agreement sets global temperature increase at well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and it commits signatory states to efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is not exactly what we called for, but it is a realistic and tolerable target that satisfies a wide range of interests.

This agreement will require every nation to participate in serious efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions by providing a new set of diplomatic tools to monitor and confirm emissions cuts.

Under the Paris Agreement, starting in 2020, countries will reconvene every five years to monitor their public plans to cut carbon emissions and supply updated plans to tighten their emissions cuts. Starting in 2023, countries will also be legally required to publicly report on their progress in cutting emissions in relation to their stated targets, as determined by a universal accounting system on emissions levels and reductions.

The language on financial mobilization for vulnerable countries has also been strengthened in the new climate agreement. Developed countries now are required to provide financial resources to assist developing countries in adopting clean energy and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

As citizens of a small island developing state, we in Fiji are doing what we can to make a difference in the battle against climate change. We have committed to reducing our own carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. We will harness the power of water and solar energy to meet our current and future energy needs and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. So when we go to the world and ask for a strong commitment, we do so with full knowledge of the sacrifices that entails. We are not asking any country to do what we are not prepared to do.

Our Green Growth Initiative becomes even more important now, because it will help us meet our commitment and it will show the world what one small country can do—and maybe what larger countries can do if they face facts and display the wisdom Fiji has shown in taking positive steps to solve complex problems. But most of all, it is good for us.

While the text of the new agreement has been agreed upon, it will not enter into effect until 55 parties, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified it. The document is structured to also allow for elements and language to be strengthened before the next commitment period of 2020.

I am satisfied that many of our demands were met in Paris and that the global community has taken meaningful action to address the threat of climate change. However, this agreement will mean nothing if we simply sit back and rest on our laurels. Without proper monitoring, none of what was agreed to will matter. I know that Fiji will be there every step of the way, to make sure that words become actions, and that those actions are drastic enough to save our planet.

While this agreement was probably the best we could negotiate among so many countries, we must remain very clear-headed about the fact that our work is just beginning. An agreement is only as good as its implementation, and it will be up to us to make sure that all nations live up to this agreement. Fiji has already taken the lead among our Pacific Island neighbors, and we will accept no compromise on implementation. The time for compromise was during the negotiation; now it is time for commitment.

The agreement—and more importantly, the battle to reduce and eventually stem the growth of global warming—will be a policy priority for Fiji. We will not compromise on our future or the future of our planet and its inhabitants. It will be an important criterion for determining which nations are truly committed to a future for all and the rest of the world must show a commitment to meet their obligations and find ways to do more.

We are ready to do our part. We have given budgetary allocations to boost our climate resilience and developed the legal framework to meet the challenges and effects of climate change.

I believe the Paris Agreement is a step in the right direction, but it is only the first step. More work remains to be done to implement the terms of this new agreement, and Fiji will remain engaged in the process to ensure that our world is protected for future generations and small island states are not left out of the equation.

Thank you.

2015 FIJI DAY MESSAGE BY THE PRIME MINISTER, HON JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA

My Fellow Fijians,

Once again, the whole nation has come together to celebrate Fiji Day 2015 – the 45th anniversary of our Independence.

It is a time to put politics aside and celebrate the things that bind us together as Fijians – our love for our nation, our love of God and our love for each other.

This love ought not to be confined to our families and friends, or to those who come from the same part of Fiji or who share our interests and opinions. It should be for every Fijian. Because we are all members of one great family – the Fijian family. And we all belong.

The great test we must set for our nation as we move towards the 50th anniversary of our Independence is that no Fijian is left behind. We must take every citizen with us as we strive to build our nation, and especially the marginalised and most vulnerable. Because I am convinced that if we can take everyone with us on our journey forward, nothing can stop us from achieving greatness.

I urge every Fijian to embrace the concept of unity – of one nation – and to work as a team in the five years leading up to the anniversary of our half century of Independence in 2020.

I have just had the privilege to see Fijian teamwork up close as I lent my support to the Flying Fijians in their campaign for the Rugby World Cup. Our boys were up against the greatest teams in world rugby. And while they were beaten in some of the deciding games, their performance on and off the field was truly inspirational and a source of pride for every Fijian. They established once and for all that Fiji – a small island nation with none of the wealth of its principal competitors – is now one of the greats of world rugby. And I came away convinced that the Flying Fijians – and the nation they represent so well – have what it takes to make it to the top.

I appeal to the whole nation to learn from the teamwork we have seen on the rugby field in recent weeks. We can have our differences. We can have our disagreements. But let us all strive to play together as members of one team – Team Fiji – with the sole aim of making our nation great.

We have much to celebrate on Fiji Day 2015. And our future looks brighter than ever before.

So let us give thanks for being Fijian. And rededicate ourselves to working together hand-in-hand – in a spirit of love and inclusiveness – as we continue on our journey to greatness.

Toso Viti. Go Fiji. May God bless our beloved nation. May God bless us all.

J.V Bainimarama
Prime Minister

HON. PRIME MINISTER JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA’S LETTER TO THE PNG PM THE HON. PETER O’NEILL AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE 46TH PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM LEADERS MEETING IN PORT MORESBY

ime Minister of Papua New Guinea
Office of the Prime Minister
Port Moresby.

Dear Prime Minister,
On behalf of the Fijian Government and Fijian people, I convey to you our warm greetings and best wishes for the success of Papua New Guinea’s hosting of the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.
As you know, our Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, is representing Fiji and I have instructed him to do everything possible to help make the event a success.

I regret that I am unable to attend myself because of the refusal of Australia and New Zealand to step back and allow the Pacific Island nations to determine their own futures free from outside interference. We have significant differences with Australia over its policies on climate change in particular that are clearly not in the interests of the Pacific Small Island Developing States.

Fiji’s position on the PIF is well known and accepted by other island leaders. But while I will be absent from the Leaders Meeting, we will continue to be engaged with the Forum at ministerial and other levels. In saying this, I also assure you of our cooperation and support towards your Chairmanship and I look forward to working closely with you in addressing the priority issues that behove us as Leaders in the region.

With every best wish to you, Hon Prime Minister on the assumption of your new role as Chair of PIF.

Yours sincerely,

J.V Bainimarama
Prime Minister

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK EXPRESSES CONFIDENCE IN NEW FIJI

The President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mr. Takehito Nakao, has praised Fiji’s economic development under the FijiFirst Government at a meeting in Suva with the Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama. He said the ADB was confident about the direction Fiji was taking and offered further assistance in a number of sectors.

PRIME MINISTER CONGRATULATES INDIA ON INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has called on India’s support, on behalf of Pacific Small Island Developing States, for this year’s climate change talks in Paris, France.

The Prime Minister highlighted this in a letter to his Indian counterpart Hon. Narendra Modi as he congratulated the Prime Minister on India’s 69th Independence anniversary. Prime Minister Bainimarama told Prime Minister Modi that “as the world’s biggest democracy and with your increasing influence in global affairs, Fiji looks to India for leadership on the great issues of our time.”

“From our perspective in the Pacific, the most pressing issue facing us is the impact on Small Island Developing States of sea level rises and extreme weather events caused by climate change. Fiji and its neighbours intend to spearhead the campaign for binding cuts in carbon emissions at the World Climate Summit in Paris at the end of November. And I specifically seek your support on this issue of the greatest importance to our wellbeing and, indeed, the very survival of some Pacific nations”, Prime Minister Bainimarama added.

As he paid tribute to the historic relations shared between the two countries, Prime Minister Bainimarama pointed to areas that have the potential to boost and strengthen the Fiji-India ties. He is expected to raise this issues personally with Prime Minister Modi when he meets with him in India later this month.

“Fiji also looks forward to strengthening our already close bilateral ties and exploring new avenues of cooperation. There are a number of areas that we believe offer opportunities for our nations to collaborate further, including economic cooperation, energy, healthcare, defence and building resilience against natural disasters – to name but a few.”

“We especially welcome India’s stated intention to engage more closely with the Pacific nations and play a greater role in our region. And in this context, I very much look forward to meeting you and my fellow Pacific leaders at the Forum on India-Pacific Islands Cooperation in Jaipur next week.”

FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER TO JOIN PACIFIC LEADERS AT INDIA-PACIFIC TALKS

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will join Pacific leaders this month at the second ‘Forum for India – Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC)’ Summit from 20th – 21st August 2015 in three different cities across India to discuss ways to enhance India’s relationship with Fiji and other Pacific Island states. A total of 13 leaders from Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, have confirmed their attendance.

This year’s forum follows the successful summit held in Fiji last year between India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and Pacific Islander leaders, including Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. The success of last year’s summit led to Prime Minster Modi’s proposal that FIPIC be held regularly, with this year’s meeting to be held in India. In line with last year’s summit, this year’s meeting will look at strengthening cooperation between Pacific Island states and India.

“The Fijian and Indian governments share many interests including a strong commitment to democracy, both countries have much to gain by expanding trade, investment, and cultural and technical exchanges,” said Prime Minister Bainimarama. “It is my hope that this visit will strengthen our friendship and allow India and Fiji to move forward together into a future of shared prosperity.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama is expected to hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to India.

MEDIA RELEASE: FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER SENDS CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO TEAM FIJI

The Prime Minister has led the nation in congratulating the Fiji Team participating at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.

The head of the Fijian Government sent a message to the Fiji Team congratulating them on their first gold medal win at the games and wished them the best of luck in their remaining events, which the team was elated to hear.

Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Laisenia Tuitubou was the first to know of the gold medal win this morning and called in to congratulate Team Fiji in Los Angeles.

“Congratulations for the gold medal win and Fiji is indeed celebrating your victory with you the winning athlete Abdul Shariff.”

He went on to say that Fiji’s achievement at the World Games is proof that “Fijian sportsmen and women despite their physical status and ability can perform well at the world stage.”

Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Iliesa Delana relayed the message to the team after the gold medal win and it was well received at the Fiji camp with loud cheers.

The Fiji Sports Council chief executive officer Ms Litiana Loabuka and the Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary Mr Josefa Sania also joined many others sending their congratulatory messages to the special athletes, wishing them well in the remaining days of competition.

“I wish to first of all thank Government – Ministry of Youth and Sports, Peter Mazey and his team at the Fiji National Sports Commission for their tremendous support in ensuring that these special athletes reached Los Angeles to participate at the World Games,” Team Fiji Manager Bishwa Sidal said.

“If it wasn’t for Government’s support and assistance, we wouldn’t have made it. And also Goodman Fielder for our colourful attire and sports gears,” Bishwa Sidal said.

“We are just overwhelmed at the results and it was all possible through the support we received back home and most importantly the support of parents of these students with special needs.”

Mr Bishwa promised to pay each athlete $100 each for any gold medal win and after the win he is “hopeful for more support and incentives offered to recognise these athletes in the future.”

The team will continue to participate in the coming days and is expected to leave Los Angeles on Monday 3rd August Los Angeles time.

MEDIA RELEASE: FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER EXPRESSES SORROW AT THE DEATH OF EDWARD NATAPEI

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has expressed his sorrow at the death, after a long illness, of the former Vanuatu Prime Minister, Edward Natapei.

In a message of condolence to his Vanuatu counterpart, Sato Kilman, the Prime Minister described Mr Natapei – who was 61 – as a great leader of Vanuatu whose death was a tragedy not only for the country but for his family and colleagues.

“While we sometimes had diverging views, I always regarded Mr Natapei as someone who had the interests of his country at heart,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr Natapei’s political career was marked by a long record of service to the Ni Vanuatu, including two terms as Prime Minister, from 2001 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2011.

In addition, he was Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister from 2013 to 2014.