Leader of Opposition, Inia Seruiratu in a compelling statement delivered on behalf of the Prime Minister at the First Annual High Level Ministerial Roundtable on a Just Transition, emphasised Fiji’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement as the greatest hope for the survival of small island developing states in the Pacific.
Highlighting the unique circumstances faced by Small Island States, Seruiratu acknowledged that while the concept of “just transition” has gained momentum since 2015, it often narrowly focuses on job losses associated with the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
For Fiji and other Small Island States, “just transition” extends beyond employment concerns to encompass a complex set of challenges, including high exposure to weather-related events, economic shocks, and limited access to financial resources for recovery.
Seruiratu underscored the unjust reality that Small Island States bear the full brunt of climate change impacts despite contributing minimally to global emissions.
Calling for a fair and equitable approach, he emphasised the need to address historical disparities among countries in the future ‘Just Transition Work Programme.’
He urged the international community to recognize the unique vulnerabilities of Small Island States and prioritize financial support for mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage.
“For Fiji, ‘just transition’ means three key elements: access to financial support for mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage; increased use and access to new and innovative technologies, especially in the supply of renewable energy; and safeguarding the socio-economic impact of transition,” Seruiratu explained.
He told the meeting that true “just transition” can only be achieved through fair and equitable measures.
Reflecting on the international focus on ‘just transition’ since the conclusion of the Paris Agreement, Hon Seruiratu highlighted the establishment of a work program at COP27 and the decision to convene an annual high-level ministerial round table on just transition starting from COP28.
“The objective of this work program is to support more effective transitions to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future, contributing to reducing inequalities within and between countries.”
Seruiratu stressed the need for genuine dialogue and mutual respect to achieve a just transition and reiterated that only through fair and equitable measures, coupled with sincere international cooperation, can the true essence of ‘just transition’ be realised.