13 Jun 2021

UN help sought amid covid, climate crises

3:10 pm on 13 June 2021

Fiji has called on the United Nations to use its convening power to align affordable, accessible and efficient development finance to help the government address the Covid-19 and climate emergency in the country.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Photo: Facebook/Fiji govt

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made the plea during a virtual meeting with the UN assistant secretary-general, UN Development Programme (UNDP) assistant administrator and director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia-Pacific, Kanni Wignaraja last week.

During the discussion, Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted Fiji's response to Covid-19 and potential areas of support that the UNDP could provide to enable swift and inclusive post-covid recovery.

He said Fiji intends to spur up public-private investments in economic diversification by creating a sustainable blue economy.

Sayed-Khaiyum recognised the UN's support in helping Fiji structure and issue a multi-sectoral Blue Bond in collaboration with the United Kingdom.

He also underscored the need to ensure marginalised groups such as fisheries and micro-marine business were assisted.

Wignaraja praised Fiji's foresight and willingness to be innovative with its Covid recovery efforts and welcomed the opportunity to work on further enhancing access to justice, developing climate and disaster risk financing solutions and supporting climate adaptation and resilience efforts.

Sayed-Khaiyum welcomed the UNDP's offer of support in these areas, and said there was a need for assistance in enhancing data-driven socio-economic assistance to Fijians to minimise the ramifications of the pandemic and its associated lock-downs.

Follow-up meetings would be held at a technical level between Fiji and the UN agency to operationalise potential and expedite current areas of mutual collaboration.

Fiji now has over 700 active cases of Covid-19, all from the latest outbreak in April.

Kanni Wignaraja.

Kanni Wignaraja. Photo: UNDP