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Fijian COP23 Chief Negotiator speaks about Integration between Climate Change, Environmental and Migration Policies

30 November 2017 – Geneva, Switzerland:

The nexus between climate change, environment and migration was the topic for a High-level panel at the 108th session of the Council of the International Organization on Migration (IOM), which took place from 28 November to 1 December 2017.

Almost 600 delegates representing IOM Member States and Observers, UN representatives, academia, private sector, migrants and civil society attended the event.

The Fijian COP23 Chief Negotiator and Head of Mission to the United Nations based in Geneva, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, spoke at the High-level panel about the importance of an integrated approach for climate change, environment and migration for an effective response to these global challenges. She informed that Fiji is preparing to face unprecedented migration waves expected in the Pacific region due to climate change and emphasized the need for a regional approach.

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“People should be at the center of every climate change solution.” - Ambassador Shameem Nazhat Khan, 108th IOM Council

Ambassador Khan also briefed the delegates on the relevant outcomes of COP23, in particular those, which were people-centered. Breakthroughs in the multilateral negotiations at COP23 in areas, such as agriculture, finance for climate adaptation, gender, education and local communities and indigenous peoples led to strengthening of the peoples dimension. She said: “People should be at the center of every climate change solution”.

The delegates applauded a video fragment of 12-years old Timoci Naulusala of Navicula in Wainibuka, telling about how climate change affected his village. Timoci won a speech competition for children in Fiji and addressed the climate leaders at the opening of the High-level segment of COP23.  

Fiji is designing national relocation guidelines to ensure that internally displaced people are treated in a way that protects their rights and upholds their dignity, as those who need to leave their homes become exposed to additional risks and become even more vulnerable.

The discussions made clear that climate change is becoming a leading driver for forced migration and recognized the sad reality that the most vulnerable, who have contributed least to climate change, are impacted the worst. As neighboring states have to bear with most of the consequences of climate-related migration, migration management will benefit strongly from international and regional cooperation.


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Several members of Public Accounts Committee of the Fijian Parliament visiting Wellington this week took advantage of a visit to the Wellington City Council’s Southern Landfill yesterday to glean a few ideas for waste management in Fiji. This included the Hon. Alexander O’Connor, Assistant Minister for Health, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Opposition parliamentarian and Ms. Priya Chand, Parliamentary Secretary who were accompanied by the Fiji High Commission New Zealand staff.

The Southern landfill is an impressive setup particularly as it focuses on recycling and minimising the damage to the environment at the landfill.

 

Other remarkable features of the landfill were its gas collection, electricity regeneration, green waste mulching and water table management. The Hon. O’Connor, an engineer by profession, was particularly impressed and intends to develop a few ideas for the Fijian Government to consider.

 

The PAC members were invited to attend the Pacific PAC training seminar in Wellington facilitated by UNDP from the 12th to the 13th December.

The PAC members, including Deputy Chair, Hon. Mohammed Dean, MP, were hosted to afternoon tea at the Fiji Chancery.  It was an opportunity for the Parliamentarians to meet the Locally Engaged Staff at the Mission and also update the staff on the work and concerns of the Public Accounts Committee.

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