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EU commends Fiji's role

Lice Movono In Bonn, Germany
Thursday, November 09, 2017

COP23 is a huge event with massive negotiations and the EU acknowledged that the role of leading it was challenging.

The head of the EU delegation to the climate meeting, Meelis Munt, said Fiji must be acknowledged for taking up what he said was the "challenging role" of putting together such an event.

Mr Munt, who is the deputy secretary general of the environment for Estonia, told the media at the opening of COP23 that they realised the Bonn, Germany event was "nothing compared to what is usually taking place in these negotiations".

"It is indeed a very challenging role being the first small island developing state to hold the COP presidency and we wish every success to the Fijian presidency," he said.

Crediting Fiji with first hand knowledge of the impact of climate change, the Estonian leader said recent extreme weather events were reminders of the potential consequences of climate change.

Mr Munt said while this COP may not make the same headlines as Paris (COP21) and Marrakech (COP22), it was vital in the context of ensuring the Paris Agreement is put into practice.

The EU said it would extend the several decades of co-operation it had with the Pacific and with Fiji by following "Fiji's unique perspectives and leadership".

"But our work over the next two weeks will be vital to putting the Paris Agreement into practice across the globe," Mr Munt said.

"So for COP23, the EU priorities — which we will highlight — really have to make clear progress in operating the work program for implementing the agreement and also to get clarity in the preparations for the facilitative dialogue to be held next year."

With over 100 side events to take place at its pavilion in the Bonn Zone over the next fortnight, the EU said there was an opportunity for the world to learn outside of the negotiations agenda.

Mr Munt said there were many kinds of climate actions and initiatives taken around the world with various stakeholders including cities, regions, businesses which the world could learn from.

"Therefore the EU has been and will be a strong supporter of the climate action agenda and we consider it as an important platform for multi stakeholder action and we will continue to engage actively in this forum," he said.

Praising the Talanoa concept that Fiji has proposed as a design for next years facilitative dialogue, Mr Munt said the design was essential.

"This rich program of events demonstrates the power of multi stakeholder action for keeping up the political momentum and making the low carbon transition happen on the ground. And of course we do it with the Talanoa spirit, working together, telling stories, learning from each other — this is essential for the European union.

"This is what we are there for."

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