Brussels 24 November 2015/ ACP: The Prime Minister of the Pacific Island nation of Fiji, Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama, ardently condemned the recent terrorist attacks by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in Europe, while also declaring a clear message to the international community on the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.

During his visit to Brussels to address ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group, the Prime Minister reiterated the ACP’s solidarity with France, a major development partner of the ACP countries, which witnessed terror attacks on November 13 that killed 130 people.

Meanwhile in Brussels, the seat of the ACP Group of States, a city-wide lockdown has been in place since the weekend over fears of similar threats.

“Fiji condemns these atrocities in the strongest possible terms. And we will do everything we can to contribute to the global opposition to terrorism. There is no excuse for these acts of terror and especially in the name of God,” said Hon. Bainimarama.

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“Our message to Islamic State: We may flinch but we will never yield. You have united all of us from all faiths in horror, but you have also united us in steely determination,” he added, reaffirming the ideals of the ACP Group anchored on common humanity, solidarity, and collaboration to enhance lives.

Climate change commitments

On his way to Paris to attend the UN Climate Change Conference, the Prime Minister saluted the EU’s commitment to a 40% cut in carbon emissions by 2030, while also announcing Fiji’s pledge to cut its own emissions by 30% by 2030, despite the fact that the small island country contributes only 0.004% to global levels.

“We are still willing to play our part… But those nations that are baulking at drastic action – what I have called the coalition of the selfish – need to be prodded out of their complacency. It is five minutes to midnight and soon it will be too late,” he told ministers.

Hon. Bainimarama called on fellow ACP member countries to support a call from the Pacific region for the global community to adopt legally binding measures to cap global warming at 1.5 % above pre-industrial levels instead of the 2 % that is currently envisaged.

“We need the industrial nations to realise that if they don’t act, it will be to their ultimate cost. Embrace a more sustainable energy future now and the pain will be far less than having to do it later. Embracing a clean, green future [is a] a selling point for any nation in a world that increasingly values sustainable development,” he said.

Fiji will be able to benefit from an ACP issues paper adopted by the Council of Ministers the same day, highlighting the main concerns of the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference. The paper reaffirms the real threat of climate change effects on ACP countries, and emphasises the need for adequate support for adaptation actions especially for vulnerable Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Limits on global warming, climate financing; and technology development/transfer and capacity building, are also addressed, amongst other key factors.

The ACP Secretary General H.E Dr. Patrick Gomes will be representing the ACP Group at the Climate Change Conference, where the ACP Secretariat will also hold a side event on SIDS and the blue economy.

(Photo from left: ACP Secretary General H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes, Prime Minister of Fiji Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama, Minister of Finance for Lesotho and President-in-Office of the ACP Council of Ministers Hon. Dr. Mamphono Khaketla, and the Ambassador of Lesotho and Chairperson of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors H.E. Mpeo Mahase Moiloa, lead the 102nd session of the ACP Council in a minute of silence for victims of recent terrorist attacks and disasters around the world.)

– ACP Press