Our Fijian Story for a Low-Carbon Development Pathway

Karsten Sach, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany, and Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and COP 23 President, share a laugh after the event.

This side event demonstrated efforts by Fiji to implement the Paris Agreement by officially launching its Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) (2018-2050) and committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The event looked at Fiji’s ambitious targets in the LEDS to reduce emissions and deeply decarbonize the Fijian economy and transition to sustainable green growth. It also shared the results, consultative process, methodology, and lessons learned from the Fiji LEDS journey. Deepitika Chand, Ministry of Economy, Fiji, moderated the event.

Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and COP 23 President, highlighted that Fiji and the Marshall Islands were the first two nations worldwide to raise the ambition of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and noted that Fiji could not have hosted COP 23 without the German government’s generosity. He noted that the Talanoa Call for Action expresses the need to act towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and expressed the commitment of the Fijian government to lead by example in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Bainimarama underlined that, despite Fiji’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions constituting a mere 0.006% of global emissions, more can be done through political will. He stressed that Fiji is the first small island developing state to include the blue carbon sector in their LEDS, including mangrove ecosystems. He expressed gratitude towards GGGI for the technical expertise provided in developing the Strategy and stressed that increased access to finance is important in reaching ambitious outcomes.

Laurence Tubiana, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), European Climate Foundation, lauded the comprehensive nature of Fiji’s LEDS, noting that as a result the country has designed a model for the global economy. She expressed admiration for Fiji’s efforts to demonstrate leadership and think in revolutionary terms, such as through the financing of decarbonization investments. She urged governments to start putting low emissions first in discussions with donors and investors in order to strengthen resilience and invest in decarbonization as soon as possible. Referring to the inclusiveness of the Strategy, Tubiana stressed the need for people to own it as a “recipe for success.” She noted that Fiji is adding its voice to the global ambition towards carbon neutrality and highlighted that several countries are revising their strategies based on Fiji’s example. She concluded by urging accelerated action and saying “the vision for carbon neutrality is not an impossibility.”

Jenny Kim, Deputy Director-General, GGGI, presented Fiji’s LEDS, reporting that the LEDS is a key tool to achieving long-term sustainable development and implementation of Fiji’s NDC by 2050. She highlighted that GGGI’s support emphasized understanding the country context, and underscored that the document is comprehensive in nature and encompasses all sectors of the Fijian economy, including the waste, agriculture, forestry, blue carbon, land transport, maritime transport, domestic aviation, and electricity sectors.

She presented four possible low-emission scenarios per sector: Business-as-Usual (BAU) Unconditional, BAU Conditional, High Ambition and Very High Ambition. She underscored that under the Very High Ambition Scenario, net-zero emissions can be achieved in 2041, after which emissions would increasingly be net-negative. She concluded by saying that the LEDS needs to be translated into action.

A short video presentation on Fiji’s LEDS highlighted that the LEDS is focused on mitigation rather than on adaptation, drawing attention to the energy sector as the largest emitter of GHG emissions in the country.

Karsten Sach, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany, lauded Fiji’s journey of long-term planning, urging the alignment of economic opportunities with social ones. He highlighted that it is crucial to guide financial support to ensure economic opportunities for the private sector and that investments are aligned with the achievement of the LEDS.

Jeanette Samantha Mani, Ministry of Economy, Fiji, delivered a note of thanks for GGGI’s support to the Fijian government in enabling a holistic approach to the LEDS development that included the participation of all sectors.

L-R: Jenny Kim, Deputy Director-General, GGGI; Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and COP 23 President; Karsten Sach, BMU, Germany; and Nilesh Prakash, Fiji

Moderator Deepitika Chand, Ministry of Economy, Fiji

Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and COP 23 President

Participants take photos of Frank Bainimarama during his speech.

Laurence Tubiana, CEO, European Climate Foundation

Jenny Kim, Deputy Director-General, GGGI

L-R: Jenny Kim, Deputy Director-General, GGGI; Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and COP 23 President; and Laurence Tubiana, CEO, European Climate Foundation

Karsten Sach, BMU, Germany

Jeanette Samantha Mani, Ministry of Economy, Fiji

Participants listen to Jeanette Samantha Mani’s remarks

Participants watch a video about Fiji’s LEDS

L-R: Naitoko Baleisuva, Fiji; Audrey Pereira, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme; Karen Lee Mapusua, Secretariat of the Pacific Community; Taholo Kami, Fiji; and Capt. Tagi, Fiji