This call from the Turaga na Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere as he opened the first National Summit for Building Resilience to Climate Change at the Civic Centre in Labasa on October 23, 2012.
Ratu Aisea said planning the proper management and sustainable use of limited natural resources must be reflected at national, regional and local level as well.
“I place this as first, as these limited resources serve the primary source of our nation.
“This needs to be reflected, not only in our national policies, as a requirement to international instruments, but rather, more importantly in our developments plans at regional, provincial, district and village or community levels. Therefore, holistic planning should no longer be optional, it is a must,” he said.
Ratu Aisea emphasised the need to pool strengths, ideas and knowledge to build resilience.
“We have to recognize that we are all partners to strengthening our resilience to climate change. We have all heard the phrase ‘no man is an island’,” Ratu Aisea said.
“This simply means as a community we have to collaborate; coordination, thus, is the tool and let’s make sure that at the end of the summit we have this aspect effectively structured for practice.”
“Let’s share stories with the whole of Fiji, to say that Yes climate change is real, but let’s work together as strong communities to build our resilience. More importantly, share with the rest of the Pacific our aspirations to building a resilient Fiji.”
“Let’s instill the right attitude and accept that the only way to achieve our goal is to embrace this change as we are accountable for our actions.
“As individuals, groups or as businesses we must act in the interest of our future generation, we are not to compromise their needs for today’s gains only. Simple acts such as using the right energy light bulbs, closing the running tap, making sustainable seafood choices, using sustainable agricultural practices, and choosing local products will begin to create a network of a nation that recognizes the importance of responding to adapting to climate change.”
The Summit was spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and attracted more than 200 participants from community groups as far as Rotuma Island the Laje Rotuma Initiative, the Rabi Council of Leaders, Yasawa, Ba, provincial council representatives, non government organisations, government departments and business houses.
Co-coordinated by WWF South Pacific, the Summit was also supported by GIZ, the University of the South Pacific’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (USP PACE-SD), Department of Environment, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Primary Industries.
The first lot of plenary speakers for Day One focused on mainstreaming issues of climate change for women, children, and health policies and iTaukei communities before participants broke out into workshop sessions.
Key outcomes for the Summit will be incorporated into national climate change strategies in broadening the scope of effective community collaboration at public-municipal-provincial and district level as required under the Fiji National Climate Change Policy.
The Summit ended on Thursday October 25.