Danish royal Crown Princess Mary focuses on climate impact in Pacific communities
Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth of Denmark and Danish Minister for Development, Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Dan Jorgensen (left) during her visit to USP’s Emalus Campus in Vanuatu. Picture: USP Marketing and Communications
By GERALDINE PANAPASA
Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth is in the country for her first official visit after making a stop in Vanuatu to visit disaster-stricken areas and witness firsthand the impact of climate change in Pacific communities.
Crown Princess Mary was accompanied by Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy Dan Jørgensen and received a warm welcome by Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Sakiasi Ditoka upon her arrival yesterday.
Last night, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs and Communications, Manoa Kamikamica, acknowledged the presence and commitment of the Danish royal and her delegation towards key issues in Fiji and the region.
“As a developing economy, we have much to learn from Denmark’s development progress and global leadership on sustainable development and digital innovation among others,” Mr Kamikamica said at the Grand Pacific Hotel last night, where a State reception was held to welcome Crown Princess Mary and her visiting delegation as well as members of the diplomatic corps.
Mr Kamikamica said the visit by Crown Princess Mary to the Northern Division, particularly to Nabavatu Village on Vanua Levu, was fitting as the Danish royal was able to interact with grassroots communities and gauge their views on how climate change had forced people to relocate from their homes.
“If you go to coastal villages, you will see real effects of climate change. It is real. The recurring and intensive nature of climate change is a driver for the relocation of our people and it comes with its own challenges, including intergenerational impacts on culture, livelihood, way of life and sense of belonging,” he said.
“For Fijians, we attach spiritual connection to the land, so it is not foreign for Fijians to be referenced as a person from a certain location.
“When relocation happens, it is more than just physical relocation, but extracting you from your central being and spiritual locality.”
While in Vanuatu, Crown Princess Mary also visited The University of the South Pacific’s Emalus Campus and held discussions with students around shared challenges between the region and Denmark, specifically on climate change issues.
She is expected to visit USP’s Laucala Campus this afternoon for a similar discussion with students and staff.
It is understood her trip to the Southern Hemisphere, including her native Australia, will focus on cooperation in key development priorities such as climate change, women and girl empowerment, health, sexual and gender-based violence, and awareness.