Saturday, 30 September 2017

“The Taboo’s”

by Herleen Emily (Nadi)
Our society often has a stereotype on certain issues that are restricted to be discussed amongst youngsters which is formally known as “taboo”. These issues include; sex, rape, romantic relationships, child abuse, sexual harassment and even puberty. Youths are often kept in a darker side of not having knowledge of what may come ahead in their life and maybe this is the very reason why we are having an increase in rape cases and sexual harassments in our country. Due to the fact that our society has put a taboo on these issues, it would be obvious that youths would want to “experiment” sex.
However, the core problem sits in our society and individual households who have formulated this stereotype. The phase of adolescence in a person’s life is a very fragile and sensitive one whereby they go through puberty and are known to have very active hormones. Thus, having unsettled and indecisive mindsets, they often make wrong decisions in their lives. So, to have a better understanding of life, why can’t sex be the topic of a dinner table? Or bed time story telling?
Parents often claim that issues like sex are connected to chains of respect, dignity, patience and the right time; which is acceptable. But if this message is not conveyed to them with time, they might lose their patience. Hence, would start to experiment it, physically or by watching pornography which clearly gives wrong ideology of having sex in life. Thus, where will respect, dignity and patience fit in? Discussing about these issues may prepare them for life and for the world that awaits them.

It is time when our society should rise with dawn and connect to the 21st century. It may have been a “taboo” in the yester centuries but an open book to this modern era. Why should we not talk about something that would be inevitable in our life? There surely is time for everything, but it is always important to prepare before the right time approaches.
By: Herleen Emily

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Accelerating Climate Action for a Resilient Fiji

"We should be mindful that we can do all things through God who strengthens us. In our prayers we should integrate messages of environmental stewardship and pray for the success of our COP 23 Presidency."

Presentation by Miss Hibiscus 2017 Candace Veramu at the National Climate Change Week Event held on Saturday September 23 at Ratu Sukuna Park

File photo of Candace

I am indeed honoured to be given this opportunity to make a presentation on the occasion of National Climate Week which began yesterday and will end on Saturday, September 30 when the Prime Minister who is also President of COP 23 will officiate at the closing.

The Prime Minister while addressing the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn in May had outlined a detailed 7 point plan on Fiji’s vision of COP 23. One of the strategies is of great relevance to all Fijians as we develop climate action for a resilient Fiji.

Honorable Bainimarama had told the world community that we will infuse COP 23 with the Fijian “Bula Spirit” of inclusiveness, friendliness and solidarity. This is a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue that builds empathy and leads to decision making for the collective good of the nation and indeed the whole world. It is not about finger pointing and laying blame but it is about listening to each other, learning from each other, sharing stories, skills and experiences. By focusing on the benefits of action, this process will move the global climate agenda forward.

I have taken into account the Bula Spirit of National Climate Week. My interest is in holistic wellness and good health for myself, my family, and the nation. While the technical issues of the Paris Agreement on Carbon Emission Reductions are being negotiated in the UN through COP 23, we the citizens of Fiji can take personal action to reduce our own carbon footprints.

I personally take an interest in planting local organic fruits, vegetables and root crops in our home garden in Wailoku. This is something that we can all do. Our young people can also do this in the afternoons before they go off to play touch rugby or other leisure activities.

We should take action by eating less imported processed foods and consuming more locally grown foods. Eating healthy doesn't just directly impact your own life, it can help inspire those around you as well. Composting, recycling, and keeping Fiji free from litter will help reduce our individual carbon emissions and contribute further to Fiji’s lower carbon footprints.

I notice that footpaths have been constructed in the Suva and Nasinu areas and indeed in many other areas. We can all use these paths to walk or jog in the mornings or after work to keep fit. This will also have the positive effect of reducing incidences of non-communicable diseases which are preventable.

We really have an opportunity when we take control of our lives to positively affect every person around us through our lifestyle choices and decisions. Considering a movement towards greater sustainable living is critical to our future.

We should be mindful that we can do all things through God who strengthens us. In our prayers we should integrate messages of environmental stewardship and pray for the success of our COP 23 Presidency. The key point I wish to leave with you all is that we must take action to reduce our carbon emissions.

As we launch National Climate Week I take this opportunity to acknowledge all those who are working to support our nation’s reduced carbon footprints. Our Prime Minister had stated that "Climate change is about our existence, our survival and saving something for our children and their children." Let us take positive action now so that the Fiji we leave for the children now and in future is a sustainable one.

Thank you very much for your time and patience.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Secrets of Ben Ryan's Training Success

MANY articles and news items have been written locally and globally about Fiji's rugby sevens fairytale success at the Rio Olympics 2016. In this article, I look at the "secrets of success" in the training program that resulted in Fiji's gold medal win and how we can replicate these successes to enhance learning engagements in our schools and universities. The lessons are also useful for the general public.

Banning social media during the training period
To cut out any potential distractions, former national 7s coach Ben Ryan banned mobile phones before and during tournaments but allowed players to mingle freely with each other and other athletes.
A number of higher education institutions such as USP and FNU filter out social media in IT labs during study hours to enable students to concentrate on their learning.
A nationwide survey conducted in the Central, Western and Northern divisions in October 2015 noted that 91 per cent of youths had mobile phones.
Seventy-two per cent had mobile phones with internet connections. Eighty-three per cent had Facebook accounts and 38 per cent had Twitter accounts.
Shutting out social media during school hours not only enhances concentration in studies but also encourages individuals to have more time to talk to each other at a social level thereby strengthening their interpersonal communication skills.
I have come across cases where individuals communicate with me and others through SMS, FB or Twitter even though I am just a few metres away. They think this is normal behaviour!
Ryan said it made a big difference because the players were not preoccupied with "selfies" or being stressed out with posts and messages.
The training became "a more relaxing enjoyable journey for them all, and it is remarkable how they coped with that type of pressure — they didn't ever really feel it".

Back to basics approach
Ryan had a back-to-basics approach. In a nutshell, he kept things simple. He said, "With advances in technology and knowledge, sometimes you just make things more complicated than they need to be."
He made very clear the framework they were working on and everyone from the players, the support staff and even the Fijian public were all familiar with the basic aim and training objectives.
In the education system, I see this as keeping to the basics in teaching functional literacy and numeracy skills.
At the end of the day, students need to be able to read and write and handle basic calculating competencies. It is good news that the Ministry of Education has been proactive in reading and writing assessments and looking at areas where effective interventions can be put in.
We also need to encourage a culture of reading. Many people are preoccupied with social media and do not have time to read. Two parents complained to me that their teenage children were preoccupied with reading from Wattpad.
Wattpad is an online storytelling community where users post written works such as articles, stories, fan fiction, and poems, either through the website or the mobile app. The parents' concern was that the stories were low quality. I argued that at least they were reading something. After tiring of ephemeral literature, I am sure they would graduate to quality works.
While I have spoken about the negative aspects of social media, there are also positive aspects. I was at a seminar and had quite forgotten a Bible verse. I gave the chapter and verse number and within seconds, a 15-year-old whipped out her phone and read out the verse from her online Bible.
Positive attitude
Ryan said, "We made sure we were kind to everyone and that there was a real feeling that everything was positive in the camp. They are the key messages that I think Fiji can give to other sports and other organisations."
One thing we should encourage in our universities and schools is that learning is fun. We often see some students and teachers moving with sorrowful faces but surely this mournful attitude can be tweaked with lessons that go beyond long lectures and copious notes on the blackboard to more innovative ones.
Why is a positive attitude important? Ryan says that it builds enthusiasm and confidence that individuals are winners.

Importance of local drinks
During the Fiji sevens training sessions at Pacific Harbour, Ryan got his players to drink 100 green coconuts daily. I realise that the Fijian public has a fixation for fizzy drinks and I am not helping with my weakness for Muther energy drinks.
Given Fiji's high rates of non-communicable diseases, we all need to eat locally-grown foods and drinks. Coconut water has more potassium than four bananas and hydrates the body better than plain water. It is also fat and cholesterol free. Let us take our cue from Ryan by drinking more coconut juice and local foods and encourage young learners to do so too.

There are many lessons that we can learn from our successful rugby sevens outing at the Rio Olympics 2016.
One of the most enduring ones that our young learners can learn from is the importance of humility.
This coupled with a positive attitude, a strong team spirit and the will to succeed should auger well for teachers and learners and indeed the Fijian public.
* Dr Joseph Veramu studied at USP and the London South Bank University and works as a consultant. Views expressed are his and not of this newspaper.

The case of fallen pastors

ALMOST every year we have cases of pastors coming before the courts usually accused of sexual impropriety. In this article, I go behind the scenes to explain why this happens and ways in which the services of those who preach can be better regulated.

It should be pointed out at the outset that the vast majority of preachers, church workers and Christian leaders do their work selflessly according to biblical teachings and are not involved in any way in anti-social behaviour.
They work in their mission fields with great integrity, compassion and honesty. It is only a handful that come before the courts.

Global scene
The scandalous behaviour of pastors is not confined to Fiji but is a worldwide phenomenon.
I googled about pastors and their scandals globally and instantly got a list of Christian icons of morality being reported shoplifting for condoms, soliciting prostitutes in red light districts, molesting minors, masturbating in public, participating in bloody sexual assaults, cruising red light districts, exposing genitals to cleaning staff, seeking male sexual services from outlets and buying ridiculously high priced goods from church offerings.
One even sent fake soil from the tomb of Jesus to church members who gave generously. There is no dirt/soil around the tomb. One would not normally associate these activities with God-fearing leaders.
Many wayward pastors, who are clearly in the wrong, have a cult-like hold on their congregations and argue that those who criticise them are agents of the devil.

Fiji situation
In Fiji it is very easy to set up a prayer group operating from one's home, which in a short time can be transformed into a home church (with the leader calling himself "Reverend" or "Bishop").
There are no shortage of people ready to attend such gatherings.
I remember about nine years ago, I had walked into an evangelical church and after a very short time I was appointed a pastor.
I did not go through any training program apart from the occasional short workshop. I also attended a number of conferences and noted that almost all other evangelical pastors were untrained.
Most of us googled our sermons. Without proper training and clear guidelines, we were susceptible to the mistakes of operating in an atmosphere of uncertainty.
Model posing for this image is in no way connected with this article

The congregation received most things I said without questioning it. I remember my daughter expressing reservations on first seeing me in a suit.
She thought I looked like a gangster. My son thought I looked like a faded rap musician who belted out fertile lyrics. But to the congregation I was all this and more.
I was someone who had walked on the road to Damascus and had been changed. I remember going to the supermarket or walking the street and meeting people, many of whom were women, who treated me with so much reverence that I began to have an inflated view of myself. One women I tapped good naturedly on the shoulder as we passed each other on the shopping aisle almost fainted. To her, it was like the touch of a saint.
Congregations should be encouraged to think critically and to see if actions by pastors are in line with biblical teachings.
Early this year, a youth (he had innocent eyes and looked cherubic) at a retreat I organised showed me a text message from a pastor telling him that he had booked a hotel room for them.
The pastor was dressed formally in a suit and had delicate features that reminded me of a cute zombie.
The youth told me that he had reported this particular pastor to his parents and church leaders. The point I am trying to make is that people should also use their common sense and resist actions they know to be wrong.
There is clearly something wrong if a pastor comes over and asks to explore someone's faculties.

Transparency needed
It is important that all churches in Fiji should operate within the organisational structures of major Christian denominational groupings.
They have to be transparent in their operations. There should be standards to regulate the training of pastors, financial accountability so that church teachings do not stray from the scripture.
I believe a number of wayward pastors are from small fringe churches although some are from mainline churches. Most preach about living Holy Spirit filled lives and find that they cannot live by the principles they preach.
Their sermons tend to be based on emotions and passions without clear moral thinking and accountability.
This is where the public should be discerning and resists sexual overtures or report incidents that are clearly wrong.
* Joseph Veramu is a policy analyst consultant and can be contacted on or twitter @VeramuJoseph.
Review of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: Links to Pacific islanders
Joseph Veramu

I enjoyed watching Valerian. Science fiction and movies with social themes does not usually generate much interest with Fiji moviegoers. They tend to patronise films with lots of aggressive actions and neurotic characters abusing each other verbally. My daughter politely but firmly declines going to sci fi movies with me because she says they look so unreal and she has difficulty enjoying herself. On the few occasions, I have taken nephews and nieces, they have spent most of their time on their phones and less time watching the screen. Valerian has all the ingredients of a blockbuster hit. So far, the film has earned $36.1 million in the US and globally it has made $65.6 million on a $177.2 million budget. That is a poor showing and it needs to pick up in the next week or two to avoid posting a box office loss.

I say that the film has the ingredients of a hit because there is a tempestuous romantic relationship between Valerian and Laureline. There are lots of deliciously grotesque villains and the action is nail biting. It also has a highly creative story line and well developed characters.

The film unfortunately has some flaws some of which are not of its making. Most of us are so used to Hollywood action romance films where the action is gritty and the main actors display a passionate friskiness or edginess. In Valerian, there are no passionate moments to endear audiences too. Whenever the tender moments come, Valerian and Laureline try to get it over as soon as possible with a peck on the cheek or a quick kiss on their upper lips. For a French based movie, they are unusually restrained with not a French kiss in sight. Perhaps they were trying to avoid a PG film rating or they were sensitive to viewers like me who have been ‘born again’ and must guard against temptations of the flesh in dark cinemas.

DeHaan’s acting is breezy as if he’s playing his character for laughs. You get the feeling that the film directors decided to do away with the Hollywood stereotype of the muscular hero. When DeHaan takes off his shirt, one gets the feeling that he loves fast foods and fizzy drinks when he’s not acting. Cara Delevingne tries too hard to be gritty but without the passion it falls flat. I am not sure whether it has to do with the way the film is shot but some of the angle shots gives her a decidedly flaring nose and the glazed eyes of an untamed wild cat. Perhaps the most exciting talent in this movie is Rihanna acting as the shapeshifting dancer, Bubble who helps Valerian rescue Laureline from a primitive tribe before she dies of a mortal wound, She encourages Valerian to woo Laureline as she has many enduring qualities.

Fijians and Pacific islanders will be intrigued with the story line which centres around genocide in the Planet Mul and the cover up by General Filitt that Laureline and Valerian uncover. We are told that in Planet Mül, a humanoid race had lived peacefully in their paradise in harmony with nature. They fished for pearls containing enormous amounts of energy, and used small animals to replicate them. Their planet was deliberately destroyed in the cross fire of two warring sides. General Filitt refers to the Muls as ‘savages.’ The people of Mul remind me of Jean-Jacques Rousseau notion of the 'Noble Savage' born with the potential for goodness. They had an "innate repugnance to see others of their kind suffer".

The Muls try to replicate their paradise on a space ship that will sail in eternal bliss in the universe. Valerian and Laureline provide them with the energy-giving pearl and a converter to enable them to escape from Alpha. The due go off to their own paradise after they admit their undying love for each other.

I know that 30 years ago Pacific academics would be offended about Europeans perpetuating the myth of the ‘noble savage’. But times have changed and it’s really cool to know that the Muls were wise, forgiving and lived in blissful harmony with nature. In these challenging times of high NCDs and pollution, it would be good to look back at our traditional wisdom to find affirmation in reducing our carbon footprints and emissions, it is really affirming to be reminded that like the Muls, we too can take action to reduce pollution and live in harmony with nature.

The trick now is to get Fijians who admittedly can't stand science fiction movies to make an exception. Go and see Valerian if only to feel inspired to take action on having healthy lifestyles and protecting our environment. And if in the unlikely situation, something ghastly was done to you, please be as forgiving as the people of Planet Mul.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Climate change narrative

THERE is a memorable picture of our prime minister sailing in a drua, a Fijian ocean-going canoe, in Suva Harbour with the leaders of two of the most climate-vulnerable Pacific nations, President Taneti Maamau of Kiribati and Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu.

I have visited both Tuvalu and Kiribati and have found it to be an emotionally draining experience to view the encroaching sea come on to the atolls.
During the Climate Action Pacific Partnership Event in Suva on July 3-4, Pacific leaders had spoken passionately about the importance of environmental sustainability. Fiji has offered to give permanent refuge to the people of Kiribati and Tuvalu in the event that their atoll nations are submerged by the rising sea waters caused by climate change.
Suva Meeting Highlights Key Action Against Climate Change
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama sits with Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga and Kiribati President Taneti Maamau on a drua during a recent cruise of Suva Harbour. Picture: FIJI SUN

Fiji's advocacy
Fiji's presidency of COP23 on the global stage provides an empowering voice to the struggles of small island nations who face the effects of climate change on a daily basis. South Pacific nations are some of the smallest contributors to global carbon emissions, yet suffer some of the most devastating results of extreme weather condition. At the same time, our PM provides a robust voice for the 7.5 billion people who call Earth their home.
Mr Bainimarama had said, "Climate change isn't about politics. It's about our existence, our survival and saving something for our children and their children."
Mr Bainimarama's meeting with California governor Jerry Brown was an affirming process for the groundswell of support for environmental sustainability of Americans at all levels.
Our PM had said, "People of all walks of life in America have spoken very loudly, telling the world that America will continue to tackle climate change." Ten US state governors and 61 mayors of major US cities now support the COP 23 initiative.

Fiji's role
Fiji is the economic and technological hub of the Pacific and is also a conduit for sustainable development in the region. Fiji has always punched above its weight in the international arena contributing to international efforts to establish peace and security. A Fijian is also president of the UN General Assembly.
Fiji made history by becoming the first Small Island Developing State to preside over the conference of parties (COP23), the annual round of the ongoing UN climate negotiations, to be held this year in Bonn, Germany, in November this year.
The world saw that despite the devastation caused by Severe TC Winston, we were resilient. With very limited resources and the psychological setbacks we faced, we were still able to prepare a first-class rugby sevens team that won gold at the Rio Olympics.
We are building on the Paris Agreement to push for substantial cuts in the carbon emissions that are causing global warming and leading to the rising sea levels and extreme weather events such as STC Winston.
Fiji co-chaired the UN Oceans Summit with the Government of Sweden. Fiji sees its role as representing all Small Island Developing States and bringing their very special and immediate concerns for efforts to both combat and adapt to climate change before the world.
The effects of sea level rise has seen the identification of 80 villages for relocation to higher ground. Warming seas has also caused changes in fish populations and bleaching of coral reefs.

Working with industrial nations
Fiji is aware that we need to gain the agreement of the industrial nations to keep reducing their carbon emissions and lower the global temperature. The leaders of the Pacific Small Island Developing States called on the international community to take immediate and decisive action to address the underlying causes of global climate change.
One of the huge challenges faced is that US President Donald Trump believes that climate change is a hoax. Nevertheless, the Pacific leaders had urged the US Government to reconsider its decision and to work together to pursue the opportunities that urgent climate action (laid out in the Paris Agreement) can provide.
The Pacific leaders had strongly urged the G20 group of major economies gathered in Germany last week to reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement.
One of the actions is aimed at holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2C above the pre-industrial level and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial level. The Pacific leaders recognised that in our small and vulnerable islands, climate change is happening at a faster rate than was appreciated at the time of the Paris Agreement.
It is imperative for the world to focus on the more ambitious target in the Paris Agreement of limiting warming to 1.5C.

Paris Agreement
For readers not familiar with the Paris Agreement, it is an agreement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.
The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 196 parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on December 12, 2015. As of June 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, 153 of which have ratified it.

G20 meeting
At the G20 Summit last week, German chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that "the discussions were very difficult". Mr Trump was left isolated as every other world leader signed up to a declaration that the Paris climate agreement was irreversible.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, said she was "dismayed at the US decision to pull out" of the accord and had personally urged the president to reconsider.
"I have had a number of conversations with him. What I did was encourage him to bring the United States back into the Paris agreement, and I continue to hope that's what the United States will do."
The constructive news is that despite Mr Trump's actions, 10 US state governors and 61 mayors of major cities said they "will adopt, honour, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement".
Fiji's prominence on the world stage has seen French President Macron extend an invitation to our PM to a special Paris summit of world leaders in December. France supports Fiji as it builds a grand coalition to keep the COP23 process on track.
It is also good news that Fiji will participate in a roundtable discussion featuring former US vice-president Al Gore at the Ecocity World Summit 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.
Fiji's participation shows the importance of the climate change issue and its impact on Fiji and other vulnerable nations. It also provides Fiji a platform to enlighten the global community on the work it has undertaken as incoming COP23 president.
Joseph Veramu is a policy analyst consultant. He can be contacted on or Facebook or twitter

A voice for all nations

I had not expected to receive many responses after I wrote my article on "Climate Change Narratives" a fortnight ago. Apart from local readers who sent me emails, I received two overseas media queries.

One of the recurring questions that I am regularly asked is how Fiji will effectively push the agenda on reducing global carbon emissions since President Trump has pulled out of the Paris Agreement. Another question I am persistently asked is China's role in Fiji and the Pacific.

Ana Erenaivalu, Zek Maqbool and Joeli Bili of YOUTHS FOR INTEGRITY campaign for a pollution free FIJI

Varying views
Having scanned a number of opinion pieces published regionally and internationally, it is important to correct a misconception. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, as president of COP23, is not just representing Fiji.
His brief is to represent the interests of the entire world. He has adopted a posture of being impartial to achieve consensus between all parties on the best way forward.
He also has a special interest in the needs of small island developing states in the Pacific and other regions. In a nutshell, he looks after the interest of small island states and also the 7.5 billion people who live on our fragile Earth.
This is by far the biggest and most important task that we have been given in almost half a century as an independent nation. Fiji was chosen in Marrakesh in November 2016 by almost 200 nations to chair COP23 because of expectations we would maintain the momentum that was set by the Paris Agreement for substantial reductions in the carbon emissions that are causing global warming.
It is expected that we would speak with conviction because of the extreme weather event we have faced such as STC Winston that devastated our nation last year.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama will keep the interests of all nations, including those that are low-lying and vulnerable, at the forefront of negotiations.

Loss and damage
It is not true that there is no urgency on the "loss and damage" provisions of the Paris Agreement that would compensate states for the impact of climate change.
Leaders from the 17 Pacific Island nations that met in Fiji in June for the Pacific Islands Roundtable Summit had agreed to redouble efforts to secure agreement for a climate change compensation scheme at UN climate talks.
Discussions on an "international mechanism" under the UN's climate convention, emphasising the "existential threat" posed to Pacific Island communities would continue at the next round of international climate talks in Warsaw.
One of the challenges of President Trump reneging on the Paris Agreement is that he is expected to pull out of the $US3 billion ($F6b) pledge that Obama had initially made. Some developing countries such as Kenya and Bangladesh are not waiting for funds from wealthy states and are starting their own funds to deal with an uncertain future.

Reducing global carbon emissions
Mr Bainimarama is mindful that if we cannot gain the agreement of the industrial nations such as the US to keep reducing their carbon emissions and lower the global temperature, the consequences will be catastrophic.
As incoming COP president, he is working closely with China, India, the European Union, Japan, Canada, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Australia, New Zealand and other states to keep the momentum rolling.
He is also working closely with Pacific nations, international NGOs, civil society and the private sector.

Fiji and China
Within the last week, I was contacted by two large overseas media networks who were very interested in the close relationship between Fiji and China which is predicated on social and economic factors.
China is Fiji's largest source of foreign investment and fastest growing market for Fiji tourism. The growing close relationship has also seen cultural exchanges and the sponsoring of Fiji students to take up courses in technical subjects in Chinese universities.
Fiji was the only Pacific state invited to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in May 2017. Since Mr Bainimarama had assumed the presidency of COP23, he had separate meetings with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.
His meeting dealt with defence and the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Fiji Ministry of Information had released the following statement in May 2017:
"President Xi has publicly committed to protect the global governance achievements contained within the Paris Agreement to curb the effects of climate change."
The Chinese Embassy in Suva Fiji had also released the following statement on 28/1/2017:
"Being a major development partner and sincere friend of Fiji, China actively promotes mutually beneficial cooperation with Fiji under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and has provided strong and firm support to Fiji's economic and social development, including to its effort to confront climate change challenges and to realise its sustainable development goals."
A number of trade and investment related memorandum of understanding and agreements were recently signed by Fiji and China after the Belt and Road Forum in May 2017. These MOUs and agreements allow for increased co-operation not just the two governments but also at the business-to-business level.

Interest of all nations
Mr Bainimarama will keep the interests of all nations, including those that are low-lying and vulnerable, at the forefront of negotiations.
There is also the need for greater engagement from the private sector, NGOs and civil society in support of Fiji's global effort to boost access to climate finance and reduce climate risks to developing economies.
Fiji will serve as the president of the COP23 negotiations in Bonn, Germany from November 6-17, making history as the first-ever small island state to hold the presidency.
* Joseph Veramu is a policy analyst consultant. He can be contacted on or Facebook or twitter