29 September, 2017, SUVA – Timoci Naulusala, from Naivicula District School, was chosen today to represent his peers at the UN Conference of Parties (COP) 23 in Bonn, Germany. He will accompany the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, in November and address world leaders, climate change activists, and representatives from UN agencies, civil societies and non-governmental organisations.
“I want to start by saying how much my spirits have just been lifted listening to three exceptional young Fijians speaking about climate change. And I’m sure we all feel the same. Because more than anything else, it has reminded me of why I took the job of COP23 President in the first place. And it has reminded every Fijian about why this mission is so critical – to ensure the security and wellbeing of our young people and of future generations to come,” said Prime Minister Bainimarama.
Recognising the Fijian Government’s strong leadership in addressing climate change and combatting global warming, UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett said, “Today’s children are not responsible for climate change, but they, and their children, are the ones who will live with its consequence.” He added, “As is so often the case, those children in disadvantaged communities face the gravest threat.”
A simultaneous event was held at the Outrigger on the Lagoon Resort to launch the Climate Change Disaster Resilient Project in four countries in the Pacific: Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, to assist schools and communities prepare for future natural disasters, such as cyclones, floods or drought.
These events conclude a one month long climate action in schools, organised by the Government of Fiji, COP 23 Secretariat, UNICEF and University of the South Pacific, to raise awareness on the impacts of climate change and the need for disaster preparedness.
This new school education project, across four Pacific countries, includes activities that not only focus on preparedness, but also develop knowledge on the safety and resilience among children, teachers and school communities. A Children’s Forum will also be created to provide children with opportunities to voice their opinions on climate change and disasters.
Speaking at the national event, Timoci, in Grade 7, said, “My school and home were washed away when Cyclone Winston destroyed my village. It took a long time to rebuild everything, and there are actions right now all of us can do to prevent climate change.” Shalvi Shakshi, from Nasarawaqa Primary School, and Shreya Kumar, from Shri Ram Govind Primary School, were close runner ups in the national competition.
The Fijian Government, COP23 Secretariat and UNICEF together will support two students to attend COP23 in November.
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