Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Rio+20 shifts into high gear

By Kathleen Leewai, SPREP
L - R Evan Wasuka and Makereta Komai, Senior Reporters

From Fiji to Papua New Guinea to Samoa then on to Rio! Ms. Kathleen Leewai, the Publications and Communications Intern at SPREP is attending her first international environment conference - the Rio+20, this has been made possible with support from PACMAS, SPREP and Conservation International Pacific Island Program. Born and raised in Fiji, Kathleen has lived in Papua New Guinea, Australia and now in Samoa at SPREP where she works as the Publications and Communications Intern. This is Kathleens first time outside of the Pacific region, read about her experiences!

18 June 2012 -- My second week in Rio has started with a slight change in the atmosphere. There are more world leaders arriving and the tension has risen as we get closer to the date of the conference.

This comes after the negotiations on the draft of the Rio+20 outcomes document were extended, the last scheduled day having been on Friday and there seem to be some worried faces walking the halls, perhaps worried that the text for the outcomes document may not be ready in time for endorsement.

Preparing for the Pacific side event is exciting as well because we have 5 Pacific leaders featured, speaking on a range of issues including oceans, the Micronesia Challenge, the Green Economy in the context of a Blue World, as well as climate change mitigation in the areas of renewable energy.

I have realized that having a Pacific side event at a global conference like this is very important because it allows the Pacific to really showcase the challenges faced by nations in terms of sustainable development, and also to highlight the success stories of innovative ways the region has explored in battling these issues.

Being able to work alongside senior reporters in this setting has been a great experience. They have been a wealth of information, not just on media work but also about large conferences like these and how they work.

It’s been a pleasure working with them so far, and they’ve taught me a lot. I’ve been very fortunate in getting this opportunity and believe that what I’ve learned here will help me in many other areas of my work.

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