Fiji recognises the role of civil society groups and the innovation in technology are both key to advocating greater awareness in environment preservation and climate change.

This was presented to G7 Environment Ministers by the Fijian Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy, in response to presentations made by civil society groups and technology experts at the second day of the G7 Environment meeting in Metz, France.

Today’s session saw various civil society groups and technology groups present to the G7 Environment Ministers on some of the challenges they faced including direct access to funding, support and capacity building and the need to harness greater political support and advocacy. At the same time, these groups provided various recommendations on the way forward and called for greater support from G7 Nations.

In response, Minister Reddy informed G7 Nations that Fiji, as a small island state and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, welcomed the role that these groups play in highlighting the challenges faced by ordinary citizens, most importantly women and children. In his remarks, the Minister also highlighted the role that technology plays in mitigating environment and climate impacts.

“Excellencies, one of challenges that our local communities face is coastal erosion and river bank erosions and as a direct result, leads to the relocation of entire communities. This impacts greatly on the lives on ordinary Fijians especially those in rural or isolated communities across the country. And addressing this, has been largely due to the support of technology and civil society groups. But to continue this, these same groups require funding and support and we strongly believe that continuing their work, requires political and leadership support”, Minister Reddy said.

In his remarks, Minister Reddy said there was an urgent need for allocation of funds and support towards these groups and investing into new and innovative technology.

He informed G7 Nations that they must take ownership of the problems faced by the world, in particular the small island states and provide two tier funding for mitigation and resilience building. Tier 1 funding would be geared towards dealing with urgent mitigation matters such as relocation of communities, coastal protection works, river bank protection works and flood mitigation works while tier 2 funding would look at resilience building in segments such as forestation , nature based solution implementation and investment in biodiversity.