Dec 14, 2017 Last Updated 3:10 AM, Dec 12, 2017

Cop-out in Bonn

WITH Fiji’s hosting of COP23 in Germany last month, I invited a Pacific negotiator to give me her take on the climate change talks and her views are republished below. “THE COP in Bonn appeared to be two meetings held in parallel with little connection between the two.

There was the Bula zone where the rule book for the Paris Agreement was being negotiated and the Bonn zone where various side events, talks, displays, dancing and kava drinking took place. Most of the so called accomplishments were undertaken in the Bonn zone.

Sadly, the engagement of the Fijian Presidency in the hard negotiations in the Bula Zone was very limited and poorly directed. The great expectations that this would be a Small Island States COP were never realised. Despite efforts to identify key SIDS outcomes at the Pacific Climate Champions meeting in Suva in July, many of these issues were pushed in to the background. 

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A story of woe

  THE story of the people of Vunidogoloa in Cakaudrove, Northern Fiji, cannot remain untold. Until now, many individuals, organisations and governments have put themselves forward as the saviours of this community, the first in Fiji to be relocated due to climate change. But the painful truth is that the people of Vunidogoloa have been left largely to their own devices to deal with a calamity of proportions their forefathers could not have imagined.

An entire village has been uprooted from the land it has occupied for generations. A whole community has moved from subsistence fishing to agriculture because it has no option. And a generation has ripped thousands of cubic metres of timber from native forests in order to build homes which will withstand the ravages of time and the force of nature. When and as required, village elders are paraded before visiting dignitaries to tell the supposed success story of their relocation with the help of the organs of state. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Time to go pink

THE scourge of cancer is a threat no Pacific community can afford to take lightly. Each year, thousands of Pacific islanders are cut down – many in the prime of life – by an illness which could be eradicated if detected early and managed well.

In Fiji the Colonial War Memorial Hospital will undergo developments to allow the facility to handle an increased number of cancer patients. Instead of travelling overseas for treatment, patients should now be able to receive treatment in their home country while being close to the support and care of their loved ones. It also provides an alternative treatment facility for Pacific nations like Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Samoa.

Fiji’s Health Ministry in conjunction with the Fiji Cancer Society and a number of business houses have launched a campaign to screen at least 500 women this month and reduce the deaths caused by this killer. At Fiji Airways, pilots will exchange the gold bars on their uniforms for pink stripes as they attempt to create awareness, particularly on breast and cervical cancers.

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