COP 23 in Fiji & Bonn

 
 

The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 23) will be hosted by Fiji at the end of this year but will be held in Bonn, Germany. This was announced by the Moroccan presidency of COP 22 and the Fijian authorities on Friday 18 November 2016 during the last day of the conference in Marrakech. The reason is that the Pacific islands cannot accommodate about 15 to 20,000 people on a single site and lodge them according to the needs. As a result, the Government of Germany has offered to host the conference scheduled to take place from 6–17 November, 2017.

As the presidency of COP 23, the Government of Fiji has given high priority to the event and aims to continue the momentum for action started in Marrakech last year since the enforcement of the Paris Agreement.
COP 23 is expected to pursue preparing the agreement’s implementation. Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama acknowledged COP 23 as „a great responsibility for a small island state“.
Making the connection between climate change and development, he added: „[As] a small Pacific island state, we need to show the world the problems we face.“ He continued that the conference shall be „a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue that builds empathy and leads to decision making for the collective good“.

  • How could the Fijian Government and the People from the islands take full advantage of COP 23 and how can this contribute to develop new ideas, initiatives and economical activities towards a ‘Green’ Economy?
  • Will COP 23 in Bonn raise broader environmental awareness?
  • Has COP 23 in Bonn the power to implement sustainable projects in Fiji and will it empower the people from Fiji to take more action on climate change themselves?
  • How could Fiji use the conference to get better exposure and connection worldwide in order to engage with climate change activists, advocates, artists, practitioners, scientists and other experts?

The world has given Fiji the opportunity to lead the fight against climate change and enhance global solutions towards a better future during the year 2017.

We want to give some answers to the questions like these ones:
How could it be ensured that Fijian citizens engage in the COP preparation process in the same way as the citizens of Germany will do?

And how can it be ensured that the Fijian people showcase what they are already doing in addressing climate change during COP 23 in Germany?
There is a risk that the country under which the conference presidency is placed is left behind and might not fully benefit from the momentum.

Fiji might not have enough exposure, communication and connection to Bonn and the rest of the world despite its important role in the conference and its leadership role. Existing risks could limit the benefits of the conference for the people of Fiji and might also affect the possibility for them to be able to showcase what they already do and can further do to save our world’s climate.

“We must all unite as a nation behind this effort, just as the world must unite to do what is necessary to save our planet. Planet Earth, that all 7.5 billion of us, as global citizens, call our home.“* said Prime Minister Bainimarama in the end of his statement on COP 23 in the Fijian parliament this February. The commitment from the people of Fiji to make that success happen requires a strong collaboration with other key actors from around the world in creating a global mobilization. COP 23 serves as an opportunity to showcase the diversity, ecological wealth, existing talents, practical knowledge, and capacities of the Fiji Islands in implementing concrete solutions in addressing global warming.

In the end it is all about mobilizing people from Fiji and Bonn to access relevant opportunities created by the conference beyond the formal negotiations process and the two locations that will be created. It is also relevant to strengthen climate action and to show to the rest of the world how Fiji is affected by the impacts of global warming every day. If every one of us in Bonn and Fiji is doing a little bit, together we will have a huge impact.

Making COP 23 a success and giving the Fijian people the opportunity to participate and get visible in Bonn is possible through team effort. That is why the project #BonnFiji has been initiated and is presented in this document.