Fiji President, Major-General (Retired) Jioji Konrote has urged the World Council of Churches (WCC) to support the Fiji Presidency at the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23), the 2017 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany.
Konrote made the request during a courtesy call by the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit on 11 August where they spoke on the pressing issue of climate change in the region.
The WCC general secretary was on a visit to Fiji after stopping in other countries in the Pacific region, one of the areas in the world most vulnerable to rises in the sea level stemming from climate change.
Discussions between the president and WCC’s general secretary included the integral role of spirituality in Fiji and the Pacific and how an authentic Fijian and Pacific voice on climate change would need to articulate this.
Tveit shared with the Fijian President how the WCC, in particular the churches of the Pacific have been at the forefront of Climate Change and Climate Justice advocacy for the last three decades.
On 11 August Tveit met with the head of Fiji's COP23 Secretariat, John Conner to discuss more practical aspects of the WCC, Pacific and Fijian churches contribution to the meeting scheduled for Bonn and beyond.
The general secretary was accompanied on his regional visit by the WCC president for the Pacific Rev. Dr Mele’ana Puloka and by Rev. Taaroanui Maraea, member of the WCC Executive Committee from the Pacific region.
Also with him was Rev. Dr Katalina Tahaafe Williams, programme executive for Mission in the WCC, with a special responsibility for the connections to the churches in the Pacific region.
Tveit was accorded a traditional ceremony of welcome by the Methodist Church in Fiji which included harmonious singing and prayers.
He also had discussions with church leaders and the executives of the Fiji Council of Churches which includes the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva.