Fiji Listens To World Leaders As It Prepares To Chair COP 23 In Germany

As President Fiji must understand issues to facilitate dialogue

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 12, 2017) – As the incoming president of the United Nations Conference of Parties 23rd meeting (COP 23), Fiji is listening to world leaders and understanding the issues they want to bring to the fore.

This is the word from Fiji's chief negotiator to COP 23, Nazhat Shameem-Khan, who said Fiji's attitude to listen, try to understand issues and not make any preemptive decisions would be the country's guidebook to the high-level meeting.

"Ultimately, this whole exercise this year is going to be about planning for the facilitative dialogue and the rule book and also for the drafting of the rule book," she said as Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama officially launched the COP 23 logo yesterday.

She said for both issues, Fiji needed to listen a lot to the member states.

"And to ensure that there is a sense of understanding of everybody's issues, so it's really important that we have an inclusive process."

Mrs Shameem-Khan said technically, Fiji was not the president of COP 23 until November.

"So when we take over formally from Morocco, that is when we will really get into gear, but having said that, this year is also about having to work with Morocco.

"And next year it is going to be about Fiji as it holds its presidency, and working with Poland which is the next anticipated presidency."

In launching the COP 23 logo, Mr Bainimarama said the logo featured a partly-submerged island with a huge wave bearing down on it.

He said the wave on the logo represented a cyclone with an eye in the middle — symbolising the wrath Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston caused to Fiji.

Mr Bainimarama said the logo captured the vulnerability to climate change of small island developing states such as Fiji.

He said the logo, which would be seen by billions of people around the world in November, was something every Fijian should be proud of.

Maria Sekiguchi of Suva's Greenhouse Studios was the woman behind the new COP 23 logo.

The former Philippine national, who acquired Fijian citizenship in 2010, designed the logo which was selected from 84 entries.

Ms Sekiguchi said she started designing the logo in February, when Fiji marked the one-year anniversary of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston. She said the devastation caused by the cyclone was the inspiration that led her to design the winning logo.

As the winner, she will fly to any Fiji Airways destination of her choice.

The design was picked from 84 entries the Government had received.

Germany, which is the host of the conference this November, has contributed $155m towards the event.

Fiji Times Online.
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