Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on Sunday called for global solidarity, commitment and urgency in rebuilding the global economy suffering from the devastations caused by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his address to the general debate of the 75th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on Sunday, Bainimarama said that climate change and the coronavirus may be very different beasts but the inequities they have exposed are all-too-familiar for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) including Fiji.
He shared with the world leaders Fiji's progress efforts in tackling two crises at once -- the containment of COVID-19 and the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Harold which made landfall on Fiji's shores early this year.
In reaffirming Fiji's commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, Bainimarama outlined Fiji's economic recovery plans and actions taken to protect the safety and wellbeing of the Fijian families and building resilient societies.
Fiji's recovery from this pandemic must mark a transition to a decarbonized, climate-resilient economic system, he said, adding that Fiji has worked closely with the UN and its partners, and together with these partners, Fiji has been working for the past several months to explore how the global community can recover faster, recover better, recover bluer, recover greener and recover together.
"There is so much more we can do -- that we must do -- to break the costly cycle of rebuilding from climate-driven devastation and maintain the pace of our march towards a modern economy," he said.
"If we do not bridge this gap; the economic wounds of this pandemic will fester and cracks of inequity will deepen, undermining hard-earned development gains and bringing economic catastrophe crashing down on the most vulnerable nations. All countries will be forced to reckon with the historic cost of that collapse," he said.
The prime minister called on the world leaders that their recovery from COVID-19 should be their best opportunity to set themselves towards the future their children deserve.
"We know that neither this global pandemic nor the climate emergency can be solved in the communities suffering the most from their devastation. The campaign for collective action must press ahead in parliaments, board rooms, in stock exchanges and in the hearts and minds of ordinary citizens everywhere in the world and that work begins here, it begins with the United Nations," he said.
"This great institution must remain the beating heart of global dignity, global security and global order. Fijians still look to the UN as a beacon for hope, a force for peace and an anchor of stability. Fiji stands ready to serve our community of nations in every way we can, by way of peacekeeping, by way of our international climate and oceans diplomacy, and by example, through the nation we build for ourselves."