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4th ABU Media Summit on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

-‘You Have the Power’, PM tells Broadcasters



By Martin Hadlow, Independant Media Consultant

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon. Frank Bainimarama, has called on Asia- Pacific broadcasters to use their skills and resources to more fully inform the world about climate change issues. Fiji currently hosts the Presidency of COP23, the Bonn conference follow-up to the Paris Treaty on Climate Change.

In a prepared keynote speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the 4th ABU Media Summit on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction in Nadi, Fiji (5th-7th February), the Prime Minister told the radio and television executives, journalists and content makers present that “you have the power, through the camera, keyboard and microphone, to tell stories”.

Mr Bainimarama, who also spoke about The Talanoa Dialogue, an inclusive and participatory international conversation on climate change topics, went on to brief the conference on his Government’s efforts to upscale technologies in Fiji so that more citizens could access the benefits of new communication platforms and receive emergency disaster information. The Prime Minister’s speech was delivered by the Attorney-General of Fiji, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Speaking in the first Summit conference session, the Hon. Inia Seruiratu, Fiji’s Minister responsible for both agriculture and national disaster management, called for major new ways of thinking across the globe. “We must change from a culture of reaction” he said, “to a culture of prevention”.

In the same session, the Attorney- General advised delegates that the recent Cyclone Winston weather disaster had caused about US$1.3b damage in the country and went on to explain a new InsuResilience disaster insurance programme. Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum also explained how the Government had provided villagers badly affected by the recent cyclone with ‘cash cards’ which could be used at hardware shops to purchase urgently needed goods, such as roofing materials.

Fiji’s Minister of Health and Medical Services, Hon. Rosy Sofia Akbar, briefed the conference on the major efforts made by the Government to alleviate difficulties resulting from natural disasters, while senior officials from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) both outlined the latest measures being taken in the field.

The opening ceremony of the 4th ABU Media Summit on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction also featured a colourful kava ceremony, a cultural event performed for highly respected visitors and guests. The conference was sponsored and hosted by the Ministry of Communications of the Government of Fiji, with organisational support from the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Fiji TV and the ABU.