Fiji Strengthens with New Partnerships

  • Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Aotearoa New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta reaffirmed her commitment to working together with the new Government of Fiji on issues of shared importance, including on the prioritisation of climate change and sustainability, at a meeting today, in Nadi.

Fiji and Aotearoa New Zealand's close relationship is underpinned by the Duavata Partnership which helps shape how the two countries' support each other. This frames how we work together to support regional institutions, regional solidarity, and to find regional solutions to regional challenges, such as defence and security.

"In a meeting with Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka we discussed our countries' areas of joint ambition; both in terms of our direct country-to-country cooperation, and as a unified Pacific whanau," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"Aotearoa New Zealand is demonstrating our whanaungatanga, by allocating NZ$20 million in flexible climate finance to support Fiji to deliver on its own climate change priorities; an allocation that will assist in building - and strengthening - Fiji's resilience to the impacts of climate change."

"New Zealand remains committed to doing its fair share in the global race to tackle climate change by assisting partner countries to protect lives, livelihoods and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change.

"The investment enables us to support clean energy projects in developing countries and provide greater economic resilience to our region, by ensuring buildings are able to withstand more damaging storms, crops are resilient to droughts, floods and new pests, and communities are protected from sea level rise and storm surges," Nanaia Mahuta said.

Nanaia Mahuta said it was important to Aotearoa New Zealand that Pacific partners were supported to build climate resilience on their own terms.

"We support building climate resilience at home and in our neighbourhood because the economic and people issues climate change presents to our partners have flow on effects for our people to people links and our own economic security.

"This is a central principle in the strategy that guides our climate finance investment: that we act as a genuine partner, in ways that lift ambition and magnify the impact of the action taken," Nanaia Mahuta said.

The allocation of flexible climate finance for Fiji follows similar allocations of support for Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands. This $20m is a drawdown on the $1.3 billion committed to supporting combatting climate change in the region.

"Across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa we are used to coming together in times of need. As we look to face the considerable challenges of the climate crisis, collective action will be critical in our approach," Nanaia Mahuta said.

The meeting was an opportunity for Minister Mahuta to personally thank Prime Minister Rabuka for the valuable support Fiji provided through the deployment of 34 Fijian defence and emergency personnel to assist recovery efforts, in Aotearoa New Zealand, following the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.

As well as the climate finance commitment, Aotearoa New Zealand is allocating an additional NZ$10 million in general budget support, to assist Fiji to deliver on its social and economic development priorities.

"General budget support from Aotearoa New Zealand's International Development Cooperation programme is one of the ways we provide support that enables partner countries to respond directly to their own development priorities," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"We will now work with Fiji to determine governance arrangements for this budget support, as Prime Minister Rabuka's Government confirms how the support will be applied to their priorities.

In response to today's announcements, Prime Minister Rabuka said: "On behalf of the Government and the people of Fiji, I convey my heartfelt appreciation to New Zealand for its continued support, which includes finance for climate action initiatives and general budget support."

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