Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of R20 – Regions of Climate Action, a not-for-profit international organization established in 2011, today recognised Prime Minister J. V. Bainimarama, for his leadership in the global fight for climate action and climate justice by bestowing him with the R20 Climate Warrior Award.
The Prime Minister was recognised with the Award at the 5th Arnold Sports Festival celebrations being held in Melbourne, Australia on 15-17 March 2019. The Festival features 10,000 athletes competing in a variety of sports and events and was first debuted in Melbourne, Australia in 2015 under the Arnold Classic Australia programme.
Whilst recognising the Prime Minister, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that “the Arnold Sports Festival celebrates the pinnacle of fitness of the human body and Prime Minister Bainimarama’s contribution in championing the global fitness of our planet also deserves special recognition and appreciation.”
It is the first time the R20 Award is being given by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to anyone for climate action and it clearly recognises Prime Minister Bainimarama’s efforts in championing the fight against climate change, especially for island nations. Arnold, who is also the Chair of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and R20, has on several occasions partnered with the Prime Minister of Fiji and COP23 President to strengthen high level dialogue on climate action, one such collaboration being a Talanoa dialogue focusing on the impact of sub-national financial systems and explored how joint public-private financing can support low-carbon and climate resilient infrastructure in developing nations.
The award was received by His Excellency Luke Daunivalu, Fiji’s High Commissioner in Canberra, who conveyed the Prime Minister’s gratitude for the bestowment of the R20 Climate Warrior Award and reaffirmed that Fiji’s commitment to climate action is total and absolute. The High Commissioner also thanked Governor Schwarzenegger for his leadership and support to the Prime Minister during Fiji’s Presidency of COP 23 and successful handing over of the reigns in Poland in December 2018.