PM Bainimarama: Families escaping climate impacts

Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in a meeting with Malaysia’s Minister for Housing and Local Government Hajah Zuraida Kamaruddin. Picture: SUPPLIED

FAMILIES are moving to cities and are escaping climate impacts, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

He said some moved to look for work or to further their education.

“They’re escaping climate impacts, or they’re simply seeking the conveniences of city living,” he said while officiating at the Asia Pacific Urban Forum 7 in Penang, Malaysia.

However, Mr Bainimarama said when it came to meeting any of the Sustainable Development Goals, cities should not be seen as the problem.

“With proper urban planning, innovative and local thinking, they can be the solution.

“Mayors are stepping up where presidents and prime ministers are not. While countries stick to the status quo, cities are finding new ways to collectivise and innovate, and that gives countries like Fiji who are on the front lines of climate change, a ray of hope.”

Mr Bainimarama said while Pacific Island States were experiencing some of the most rapid rates of urbanisation on the planet, the drivers of this change were common throughout the world.

“Regardless of the reason for this urban drift, it’s on us to ensure that when our people make that move, they find towns and cities that are capable of supporting their wellbeing.”

He said people in the Pacific had recognised that planning of urban settlements and associated infrastructure, legislation and capacity must keep up with the pace of urbanisation.

“Whether with climate change or a host of other issues, Small Island States see things through a lens of increased urgency.

“We don’t have the luxury of waiting.

“For us, the problems that will inevitably challenge larger nations in the future demand action now.”

More Stories