Page 59

Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Bainimarama (right) with Hugo Swire, a UK minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office a range of investment incentives and has begun making processes business friendly. We have also invested in the development of infrastructure of our roads, ports and airports, and developing a knowledgebased economy.” The government won international praise when it announced it was ditching the death penalty in February. The death penalty had been dropped from Fijian civilian law after George Speight was initially sentenced to death for his attack on the government in 2000. His sentence was soon commuted to life imprisonment and the death penalty dropped from the statute books. But until this year, military law still allowed the execution of those involved in leading a coup. Opposition politicians had argued that retention of the death penalty would deter future coups, but the vote went in favour of the government. Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma visited Fiji in September to discuss areas in which the Commonwealth is partnering with Fiji, including oceans management, trade, debt management, youth development and sports. Sharma says: “The Commonwealth has an ongoing programme of assistance to Fiji in the area of maritime boundaries and natural resource management. Previous work in this area has included a bilateral maritime boundary treaty between Fiji and Tuvalu and support to conclude a maritime boundary agreement with Tuvalu and France. The Commonwealth is currently © Foreign and Commonwealth Office CC BY 2.0 In Focus Fiji assisting Fiji through a multi disciplinary team, with a UN submission to extend its outer continental shelf.” However, not everything is rosy on the international relations front. Australia and New Zealand were criticised ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum in September for their ‘unambitious’ emissions-reduction targets. The two countries – the largest in the region – also forced a climate declaration that was to be agreed at the meeting to be watered down. Small island states in the Pacific are seeing rising sea levels threaten their existence, making climate change one of the key issues for the region. Citing Australia’s inaction on climate change – and Australia and New Zealand’s ‘interference’ in the declaration – Bainimarama decided to boycott the forum, instead sending his Foreign Minister to the meeting. With the next general election due in three years’ time, Bainimarama will have to take care to carry the majority of the electorate with him in his decisions on both domestic and international politics if he is to retain power legitimately in the long term. Small island states are seeing rising sea levels threaten their existence, making climate change one of the key issues for the region www.global -br ief ing.org l 57 global four th quar ter 2015


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above