Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to express my deep thanks to the Secretary-General for hosting this event, and for his nine years of unflagging commitment and leadership to advancing global progress on climate change.

Mr. Secretary-General, you have elevated climate change to the top of the global agenda, and helped mobilize the consensus needed to adopt the Paris Agreement.

You have consistently focused attention on the critical needs of the small island developing nations, as well as the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities with respect to climate change.
Your leadership has enabled the world to arrive at the point we are at today, here in this General Hall, as we work together to ensure that the Paris Agreement enters into force this year.

Today, governments have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement, just as they did in April at the Signature Ceremony when 175 countries signed the Agreement.

Fiji is proud to have been the first country in the world to complete its domestic processes to ratify the Paris Agreement. I assure you that our country will use its leadership position as holder of the Office of the President of the General Assembly this session to do everything possible to secure the rapid ratification of the Paris Agreement and spur climate action.

The need is urgent. This year is on track to be the hottest year ever, as was 2015, and as 2014 was the year before. My country, along with the other small island nations, is on the frontlines of climate impacts. The rapid entry into force and implementation of the Paris Agreement is critical for our national survival.

We have a responsibility to our people – and to all the world’s people – to protect them from rising seas, powerful storms, hurricanes and cyclones, crippling floods, devastating droughts and higher temperatures.
Today’s event shows there is support from the global community to bring the Paris Agreement to life and to work together to achieve all of our Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Secretary-General, I thank you for convening this High-level event and for your longstanding leadership on climate change.