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Fiji stands tall

Sikeli Qounadovu In Bonn, Germany
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

THERE is a growing fear of bullying tactics and harassment that may affect negotiations at the 23rd Conference of Parties in Germany but the UN says there is zero tolerance on such cases.

However, Paul Bodnar, the former chief climate change negotiator in the Obama administration (US), believes Fiji has the capacity to assume its presidency successfully.

Mr Bodnar said it was a difficult task to be COP president, but believes Fiji can deliver.

"I can say this is a complicated system that you have Fiji taking on the responsibility of chairing. I always talk about it that it is important for COP presidency they have a very very hard job to do," he said.

"It's complicated, it's irrational, the fact that you need to have consensus on everything because it is always easier to disrupt process and it has to go to the consensus process.

"So I think Fiji brings a great deal of moral authority to this task and your PM is a formidable fellow and I think having the moral authority, being well organised is key and being inclusive in hearing the people's perspective.

"So your job is to help everybody together assisting and moving on and moving forward.

"Fiji has the capacity to keep everyone together. It's not necessarily about making decisions, it's about working with the global community together."

Reports of women delegates being sexually harassed in the past during negotiations and discussion will no longer be entertained and the UN Climate Change Secretariat has issued a zero harassment policy.

In a report published by Climate Change News, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secrertary Patricia Espinosa said a gender focal point in the secretariat was there to listen to any harassment situation that could arise.

"As you know, there are many situations where people do not come forward formally, it takes a lot of courage. I hope by strengthening the capacity to deal with that we can look in the future to a situation where everybody is comfortable coming forward," she said.

Fiji's chief climate change negotiator Nazhat Shameem-Khan said harassment was one of the hindrance towards the "advancement of women" and it would never be entertained.

The article further said that a lawyer claimed she had been sexually harassed before during climate talks and was calling those who had faced this inhumane act to come forward and also report, so that they could put a stop to it.

With a number of women now involved in the negotiations table, the UN states that women should not be intimidated by these, however to report so that the matter can dealt with.

There have been other reports of women being sexually harassed that has led to a few refusing to participate in climate talks.

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