Calls For Rapid Progress At COP23 As Ministers And Heads Of State Arrive


At the UN climate change conference in Bonn (COP23, to 17 November), COP23 President and Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama called on governments to make swift progress on taking forward climate action and finalizing the rulebook of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Ministers from around the world and around 25 Heads of State and Government arrived in Bonn today for the high-level segment of the UN climate conference, which ends Friday.

Alluding to the Fijian sailing canoe, or “drua” exhibited at the Bonn climate conference venue, Frank Bainimarama said:  “We are all bound by our common interest in reducing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is humanity’s mission.  It’s symbolic of the journey we must all make together. With just a couple of days to go, let’s stay the course. Let’s reach our destination,”.

This is the first time that a small island developing state is presiding over a UN climate change conference. Also from Fiji was 12-year-old Timoci Naulusala, who was invited to Bonn as part of a Climate Week speech competition for children.

At the opening, he made a touching and passionate plea for climate action. “The sea is swallowing villages, eating away at shorelines, withering crops. Relocation of people…cries over lost loved ones, dying of hunger and thirst. It’s catastrophic. It’s sad…but its real.

“You may think it will only affect small nations…you are wrong,”.

The main part of the opening of the high-level segment in Bonn was concluded by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.  Germany has provided generous logistical, financial and logistical support for COP23, and it is also the host of the secretariat of UN Climate Change.

“Constructive, multilateral work under the umbrella of the UN the only way forward,” the German President said.

Germany’s special role was also highlighted by the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the event, who announced that Germany would double the amount of climate finance it is providing to developing countries by 2020.