Friday, 9 December 2011

From Tuvalu to South Africa, battling climate change for survival

L - R Ms. Pepetua Latasi Tuvalu, Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti, SPREP

Durban, South Africa, 9 December - A young woman from Tuvalu sits at the head table during the climate change negotiations in Durban, South Africa, presiding as the Chair of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group.

She is one of a delegation of eight from Tuvalu that is here in Durban to raise their voice on behalf of their local communities in Tuvalu, calling upon the humanity of parties to the Convention on Climate Change at these negotiations, to consider what is at stake.

“In October this year Tuvalu declared a state of emergency because of a drought, we had a water shortage for six months. We have ongoing coastal erosion problems in Tuvalu and our water security is under threat as our water table lens is inundated with salt water,” said Ms. Pepetua Latasi.

“We are experiencing all these problems, and that is why it’s important for us to be here, to fight for our survival.”

She is no stranger to the climate change negotiations. She represented Tuvalu at the negotiating table first in 2004 for three years before leaving to further her education. Now, Ms. Latasi has returned to play a leading role within the halls of the climate change negotiations as Chair of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group.

This special group consisting of approximately 12 experts was established to assist the Least Developed Country parties to the United Nations Framework to the Convention on Climate Change in preparing and implementing their national climate change adaptation programe of work.

Tuvalu has worked hard in the negotiations and this year is no different as the island nation endeavors towards an agreement in Durban, a new legally binding agreement to get all countries on board for deeper emission targets, agreement on a work program for Loss & Damage and to operationalise the Green Climate Fund so Small Islands Developing States can start to receive funds to help carry out adaptation work on the ground.

“I am happy to be back in process but was expecting more, that we’d get an agreement from this process. We are still being positive even though it is hard to stay positive, we are hoping for the best.”

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