THE staging of the National Summit for Building Resilience to Climate Change is evidence of national concern and existing efforts to address its effects, says Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere.
In opening the first ever national summit in Labasa yesterday, Ratu Aisea said the summit provided an indication of collaborative exertion of efforts to ensure that the people of Fiji were aware of their changing surroundings and be knowledgeable of how to address this inevitable change.
"We in Fiji are not isolated from the rest of the world. We are global citizens and affected by the impact of actions taken by citizens in other parts of the world, climate change impacts being such," Ratu Aisea said.
"Disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies though advocated nationally, lack the funding and are not effectively linked to or integrated with Fiji's rural development administrative machinery," he said.
He said the responsible and most effective way to preserve the environment from climate change was to engage stakeholders.
Business operators who also use natural resources and gain financially, socially and culturally should also be monitored in order to sustainably use the living asset and to finance its management.
"Closer to home, as Pacific Island leaders meet, climate change is an unavoidable topic that is discussed at length," Ratu Aisea said.
"Today, we gather for three days to learn, discuss and share climate smart solutions for our nation to build resilience to climate change," he said.
"We are here to talk about what we are doing as individuals, community-based organisations, government agencies, as non- government organisations, and a nation at large to share and take back some practices that will allow us to effectively address mitigation and adapt the way we live to climate change," he added.