AUSTRALIA believes Fiji's presidency of the UN Conference of Parties (COP 23) gives the Pacific a leadership opportunity on developing the rule book for Paris implementation, a key task for 2017 that will help keep the world focused on reducing emissions.
In an interview, a spokesperson for the Australian Government said Fiji's presidency would raise the profile of issues of importance to small island developing states in Paris implementation and the particular challenges Pacific Island countries face in dealing with climate change.
"Australia welcomes Fiji as the incoming COP president and congratulates it on securing this important leadership role in international negotiations on the world's response to climate change," the spokesperson said.
"The Australian Government is strongly committed to helping Pacific Island countries address the challenges of climate change, including through the $300 million climate finance commitment in the Pacific that Prime Minister Turnbull announced at the Pacific Islands Forum in Pohnpei."
The spokesperson said Australia looked forward to discussing with Fiji its priorities for COP 23 and how both countries can work together to achieve a strong global response to climate change in 2017.
"Australia stands ready to assist Fiji to make COP 23 an outstanding success and one that brings the world's attention to the Pacific region.
"Australia will continue with ongoing positive engagement on climate action at COP 23 next year. We played a constructive role at COP 21 brokering the Paris Agreement, including our support for the 1.5 degree global goal.
"At COP 22, we pursued outcomes on transparency and spoke on our work with the UK in co-authoring of the Climate Finance Roadmap.
"COP 23 provides us all with an opportunity to raise the profile on issues that are of particular importance to Pacific nations."
The spokesperson said Australia looked forward to working with Fiji to ensure its presidency was a success and the interests of Pacific Island countries were addressed in COP 23.
The New Zealand Government has congratulated Fiji on its successful bid to host COP 23 in Bonn, Germany next November.
"This is an opportunity to demonstrate to the world the importance of climate change to the Pacific region, and strengthen the Pacific voice on this issue.
"New Zealand and the Pacific are aligned in pushing for a strong global response to climate change," the New Zealand Government said.