Prime Minister – Voreqe Bainimarama has launched the climate relocation trust fund for communities in the 74th United Nations General Assembly.
He highlighted the real challenges Fiji faces in relocating villages and communities who are trying to continue with their daily lives.
“For a country like ours with limited means and a young population, dealing with this challenge – which has been caused through no fault of our own – has become an increasing burden. That burden seems certain to worsen as the impacts of climate change become more intense – not only the rising seas and the impacts on our agriculture al practices but also the extreme weather events that pose an ever present and worsening danger to our people and our infrastructure” Bainimarama said
For Fiji the challenges is real some villages have been relocated with a total of 45 in the pipe line.
“Of course, it isn’t just the monetary cost of relocation that is a burden on nations like Fiji. Even more incalculable is the trauma of moving, of leaving your ancestor’s burial grounds behind or seeing the land or foreshore area you have farmed or harvested for generations no longer being able to feed you and your family. So moving a community is more than just moving a group of houses. It is about rebuilding a community and sense of community. It is about ensuring access to jobs, schools, medical services and sustainable living – all of which requires detailed and co-ordinated planning between a wide range of government agencies and other organisations. And the process must inspire a sense of ownership from the community members, giving them a sense of purpose through the relocation and a sense of pride once they claim their new home'”.
It is more challenging for many of those who are relocated in living the place they have called home for the past years.
While plans has been in place on how this fund will be collected government is looking at other avenues to assist the relocation process.
“We are seed funding the Trust Fund through a percentage of the revenue from our Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy – ECAL and henceforth on a regular basis. Based on current projections, the annual allocation from ECAL will be approximately five million dollars a year. But this is not enough. We look forward to additional support to undertake this enormous task. And, Your Royal Highness and Friends, I now have great pleasure to officially launch Fiji’s Climate Relocation and Displaced Peoples Trust Fund for Communities and Infrastructure”.