The low-lying Pacific islands, which include Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, are some of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the extreme weather events caused by climate change.
Fiji has been battered by a series of tropical cyclones in recent years, causing devastating flooding that has displaced thousands from their homes and hobbled the island’s economy.
“The single greatest threat to our very existence is climate change. It threatens our very hopes and dreams of prosperity.”
The meeting, which closed on Sunday, was dominated by debate over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising tensions between the United States and China over everything from Taiwan’s sovereignty to naval bases in the Pacific.
Beijing has said that it is not establishing a military base in the Solomon Islands and that its goal is to strengthen security cooperation with Pacific island nations.
“In Fiji, we are not threatened by geopolitical competition,” Seruiratu said in his speech.
“We have to adapt how we work and who we work with to achieve stability.”