Fiji is one of the coun­tries suf­fer­ing most from cli­mate change. The sen­si­tive ecosys­tem of the island state is threat­ened by ris­ing sea lev­els, chang­ing rain­fall and storm surges. Since 1993, the Pacif­ic sea lev­el here has risen by an aver­age of six mil­lime­tres per year, almost 15 cen­time­tres more than the glob­al aver­age. If noth­ing is done, the water will prob­a­bly be 1.40 metres high­er by the end of the century.
The 23rd World Cli­mate Con­fer­ence took place in Novem­ber 2017, at which the imple­men­ta­tion of the Paris Cli­mate Change Agree­ment of 2015 was fur­ther nego­ti­at­ed. The con­fer­ence took place at the head­quar­ters of the Sec­re­tari­at of the UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change in Bonn, Ger­many. For many Fijians, the con­fer­ence was about tak­ing the con­cerns of the Pacif­ic Islanders seriously.

In a Ger­man-Fijian youth exchange pro­gramme, young envi­ron­men­tal activists were able to see for them­selves how cli­mate change shapes life and every­day life in Fiji and Ger­many. The aim of the mea­sure was to pro­mote the exchange of young peo­ple and young adults on cli­mate pro­tec­tion mea­sures across nation­al bor­ders. Fif­teen young com­mit­ted peo­ple each from Ger­many and Fiji met in Fiji and in Ger­many rep­re­sen­ta­tives from pol­i­tics, sci­ence and civ­il soci­ety. They learned about the risks, vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty and adap­ta­tion mea­sures in the respec­tive coun­tries. As the cli­max and con­clu­sion of the exchange, the young activists took part in the cli­mate con­fer­ence in Bonn and worked togeth­er to advo­cate more con­sis­tent cli­mate pro­tec­tion. The exchange attract­ed media atten­tion through­out Ger­many for cli­mate change and its sig­nif­i­cance for coun­tries such as Fiji. The exchange was organ­ised by the Foun­da­tion for the Rights of Future Gen­er­a­tions, the cli­mate del­e­ga­tion of the Future Ener­gy Youth Alliance and Project Sur­vival Pacif­ic Youth from Fiji and was financed by the Fed­er­al Min­istry for the Environment.

For the peo­ple of Fiji and many oth­er regions of the world, cli­mate change means the strug­gle for sur­vival and the fight for their home­land: ris­ing sea lev­els flood vil­lages and fields and endan­ger the population’s liveli­hood and food sup­ply. As the world’s first vil­lage, the inhab­i­tants of Fijian Vunido­goloa was reset­tled in 2012 due to cli­mate change.
The oceans, which play an impor­tant role in cli­mate reg­u­la­tion, are warm­ing up and the habi­tat for fish and oth­er marine ani­mals and plants is chang­ing dra­mat­i­cal­ly. The ris­ing tem­per­a­tures of the seas also have a notice­able impact on land, because warm seas often result in extreme weath­er con­di­tions such as hur­ri­canes. In Feb­ru­ary 2016, trop­i­cal cyclone Win­ston dev­as­tat­ed large parts of the Repub­lic of Fiji. It was the strongest cyclone ever to hit the island state. The eco­nom­ic loss­es are esti­mat­ed at more than half a bil­lion US dol­lars — about a third of the annu­al gross domes­tic product.


The Ger­man-Fijian Youth Exchange was award­ed the Ener­gy Globe Award 2018 in the Cat­e­go­ry “Nation­al Win­ner Germany”.



Project Blog


Selection of media reactions

Fiji Times Online (29 Octo­ber 2017): Youths ready for Bonn