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Archived News: October 2017

From Fiji Times Online (30 October 2017)

Multi-sectoral State officials to meet Rotuma Island Council

By Alisi Vucago

FIFTY Fiji Government officials arrived in Rotuma earlier today as part of a multi-sectoral team visiting the far-flung island, and to assess the various State services provided to the people there.

Commissioner Eastern Luke Moroivalu is heading the team.

In a Government statement issued today, he said since Rotuma was quite distant from the rest of the Fiji group, and with government officials stationed on the island, the multi-sectoral team's visit was important because it reinforced operations on the ground and strengthened an integrated approach to the development and growth of Rotuma.

"We will attend a special sitting of the Rotuma Island Council tomorrow to discuss important government issues. We will also monitor the progress of major government-funded infrastructural projects. The officials will then conduct monitoring and relevant work in their various sectors," Mr Moroivalu was quoted saying in the statement.

The multi-sector team includes officials from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, the Fiji Roads Authority, the Water Authority of Fiji, the Fiji Revenue Customs Services, the Fiji Police Force, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, the Commissioner Eastern's office, and others.

The team completes its work on Rotuma and depart for Suva on Wednesday.

From PRI Website (7 October 2017)

As seas warm, small island states face a dangerous future

By Adam Wernick

The hurricanes that recently smashed islands in the Caribbean set records for size, strength and endurance — records that experts predict will be broken sooner rather than later, as global warming continues to heat the oceans and intensify precipitation cycles.

Dessima Williams, former Grenada UN ambassador, says the Caribbean people remain resilient and self-reliant, but they have limited financial capacity to recover and rebuild.

This situation makes global action on limiting climate change and preparing for its impacts, especially on Small Island Developing States, more urgent than ever, says Williams, who was also the former special adviser for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

These islands have already begun responding to the threat of storms in “a more intelligent way,” Williams says, including improvements in agriculture and construction, but she believes the biggest help to these nations and territories are lifestyle changes in the industrial and developed countries “where the emissions of carbon really damage the seas and the environment and create this havoc.”

On the islands that are still colonies — St. Martin, St. Barts and the British Virgin Islands, for example — the metropolitan governments are more capable of responding to disasters because they have more resources and have a chance to persuade their parliaments to reconstruct in a manner that suits the islands, Williams says.

For independent countries, it's much harder, however. “You're looking at countries that have not fully recovered from the economic crisis of 2008 and from the repeated battering from hurricanes,” Williams says. “So, I would not be surprised if special measures have to be put in place about the existing debts and the reconstructing.”

The upcoming November climate meeting in Bonn will be chaired by George Konrote, the president of Fiji, one of the Small Island Developing States, Williams notes. Konrote has insisted that the issue of SIDS will be featured during his one-year tenure.

“I recall years ago when my country, Grenada, was leading the Small Island States, we were arguing that we will see in climate change, if we don't act in a decisive and urgent manner, a level of unpredictability and randomness that we could not necessarily control,” she says. “I'm sorry to say that we are proving that our arguments, or our clarion calls, were correct; that, in fact, we must act urgently, because the impacts are going to be hardest on us as small island states, but it is going to be widespread.”

“I think the floods from Houston to hurricanes in Florida suggest that it's not just the islands that will experience this level of climatical chaos, that it is spreading,” she concludes.