Thank you, Prime Minister and the people of Fiji, for your warm welcome; Excellencies; fellow leaders; ladies and gentlemen.
I am pleased to be here today representing Australia to discuss how we can make the most of the opportunities of the "Pacific COP".
I am here in the spirit of Talanoa, that Fiji, as President of COP23, is bringing to Paris Agreement negotiations this year.
Fiji has quite properly identified a key priority of its Presidency as overseeing international progress on implementation of the Paris Agreement.
We congratulate Fiji for your leadership, and for bringing a "Pacific consciousness" to COP this year.
We are grateful to Fiji for organising this meeting that will gather the views and ideas of how we can best make use of this opportunity, to bring global attention to the challenges the region faces, and prompt further action to address the impacts of climate change – especially on our most vulnerable neighbours.
We welcome Fiji's focus on both mitigation and adaptation in these discussions – they are two sides of the same coin.
Paris Agreement "National Determined Contributions" are
sovereign roadmaps for action, and we strongly support discussion on how we can accelerate implementation of these across the region.
At the end of the day, it's about what we do, not what we say.
That is why we are pleased that much of the focus of our discussions will be exchanging views on how we can take practical and transformative action that makes a meaningful difference to our communities.
And this builds on action the region is already taking, recently evident in the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Pohnpei Statement on Strengthening Pacific Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk and through initiatives like the region's Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific.
I look forward to discussing concrete ways to take action forward and to use this opportunity to build consensus on areas of priority in our region.
And this includes faster progress on renewable energy, stronger disaster response and insurance facilities, stronger science and policy capabilities to inform action against climate change, innovative financing solutions, and advances in agriculture which combine higher productivity with good mitigation and adaptation outcomes.
We each have strong foundations to build on in taking action.
In Australia's case, we exceeded our Kyoto 1 commitments and we are on track to meet and beat our 2020 commitments by over 224 million tonnes.
The Abbott Government committed Australia to our 2030 target, which is amongst the most ambitious of the G20, effectively representing a halving of emissions per person in Australia – or a two-thirds reduction per unit of GDP, and to a renewable energy target of 23.5 per cent.
The Turnbull Government is continuing this implementation and by 2020, nearly a quarter of our electricity will come from renewable sources as we are on track to meet our RET target.
As I mentioned, we will also mobilise significant support to developing countries to help them achieve their commitments.
So we have a lot to talk about over the next two days, but from the base of a strong regional commitment to action.
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