Friday 18 March 2011

A Successful Pacific Climate Change Roundtable ends in Niue

17 March, Alofi, Niue - The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Alofi, Niue has come to an end. Four days of intensive deliberations on climate change issues has provided a clear way forward for the region.

In his closing statement today, Hon. Toke Talagi, Premier of Niue expressed the need for politicians and government leaders to be involved in the discussions in future as they help drive climate change issues on the international scenes.

L - R Mr. David Sheppard, Director, SPREP - Hon Toke Talagi, Premier, Niue
His Government and country were commended for their generosity and welcoming spirit, providing a friendly backdrop to the discussions, by the Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Mr. David Sheppard.

One of the key outcomes of the PCCR is it has a steering committee to ensure effective coordination and collaboration which will continue to play a role after the roundtable. One of the major aims of this Roundtable is its’ intention to be inclusive, rather than exclusive. This was made clear with the participation of the civil society, donors, development partners, country participants - all stakeholders were welcome to attend this conference.

“Ambassador Feturi (H.E Aliioaiga Feturi Eisaia) reminded us that “No-one has a monopoly on good ideas”. Everyone has been able to participate here as equals – this Roundtable has provided a neutral forum for the exchange of ideas and experience,” said Mr. Sheppard in this closing statement.

“When we look back at the last roundtable we can see that the focus has shifted from process to substance. Congratulations to you all.”

A Terms of Reference was endorsed for the Roundtable. The living document will be adapted in line with changing circumstances.

Coordinators and terms of References were formed for the four working groups – mitigation, adaptation, climate change resources, and climate change information and knowledge management. During the PCCR, the working groups met to provide clear and practical recommendations that link with existing processes in the region. For example, the Climate Resources working group will provide input to and support the existing processes led by the Pacific Forum Economic Ministers Meeting.

“In terms of the agenda and outcomes, this time there was much more involvement of Governments, NGO’s, development partners and as a result of that the discussion was much more focussed and useful,” said David Sheppard.

“There was good discussion on a lot of key issues like financing, adaptation, mitigation and I think most importantly we have a clear way forward, we have working groups, each working group has good leadership with clear and effective work programmes. So I think this really reinforces the PCCR as the premiere forum for discussion of climate change issues in this region.”

The next Pacific Climate Change Roundtable will be held in 2013 the venue of the next meeting is still not confirmed.

Samoa represents Small Islands Development States on Climate Fund committee

17 March Alofi, Niue - The Green Climate Fund of 30 billion dollars to address climate change in developing countries was a topic for discussion at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Alofi, Niue this week.

In terms of capitalization of the new Fund, Parties agreed that developed counties will “commit, to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.”

In order for these funds to be spent and dispersed the Green Climate Fund must be designed by a Transitional committee which was an outcome of the international climate change meeting in Cancun this year.

Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, the Permanent Representative of Samoa to the United Nations spoke to all participants about the Green Climate Fund. Samoa is the representative to the transitional committee on behalf of the Small Islands Developing States.

“Unless the Green Climate Fund is going to be designed in such a way to respond optimally and in an equitable manner to the uniquely Pacific climate change needs of our island countries, irrespective of our sizes, political and economic influence or our colonial past,” said Ambassador Elisaia.

“If it cannot guarantee that as a minimum, then maybe we should opt out and do something else more productive and useful for our people. But we are not self defeatist, and we thrive on being challenged. We must bring all our partners together, as cooperation, collaboration and partnership is important. We must move forward together on this.”

The Green Climate Fund was formed in the Copenhagen Accord and includes billions of dollars to be spent in 2010, 2011 and 2012 for tackling climate change. It is to be made up of new and additional resources and not be part of the AID funding that is already dispersed in the Pacific region.

The Transitional Committee will recommend for approval. to the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on the Convention on Climate Change in South Africa at the end of this year, documents outlining operation of the fund.

Once complete, the next step is for Pacific countries to work to ensure the Green Climate Fund will work effectively in the region.

“We need credible data that can validate and support our argument for tailored modalities and a SIDS special window to respond comprehensively to our climate-related needs,” said Ambassador Elisaia.

“We can be passionate about our challenges and aspirations for all we can, but if we do not have hard data and well-thought our proposals to back up our arguments, no one in the Transitional Committee will take us seriously.”

The Pacific islands are clear as to their expectations of the new Green Climate Fund –

Chanel Iroi, Solomon Islands: “At this stage its welcome news, we have to work hard to make sure this fund has an expediting process, we want to make sure we can access the funds as we have a lot of experience with challenges in accessing funds. Hopefully the transitional committee will look at these issues as to how best these funds can be accessed so we can actually get the work happening on the ground.”

Ms. Tanai Temata, Cook Islands: “My expectation is that it’s an expedited fund we get it faster, quicker and easier to the countries. That’s my biggest hope so we can get things on the ground running.”

Ms. Luisa Malolo – Tonga: “I would like to see more implementation projects in terms of climate change projects we should try to minimize conducting so much consultation and awareness assessments before we can get the funds. From a country point of view we really want to see results happening on the ground.”

Climate change meeting in Niue welcomes local culture

16 March, Alofi, Niue - The Leviatana Dance Team from Alofi South in Niue has been a vibrant part of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable this year. Featuring as entertainment during evening events and side events, the team of young dancers have impressed all with their skills.

Originally formed 20 years ago, the cultural dance team began as a way to bring young people together and help develop their skills. The name of the dance team encompasses all that the group stands for – community spirit, unity and strength.

“We try to get our young people to know more about us here at home, instead of watch the talents of those overseas on TV,” said Sinahemana Hekau one of the choreographers of the dance team.

“We wanted to bring the young people together and fill a gap and give them the opportunity to learn about Niue culture and develop their skills.”

 The team is made up of young boys and girls from Alofi South, to perform traditional chants prepared by the elders in the village, dance Niue cultural items and help to keep the Niue history and culture alive.

"We perform to songs about the environment we’ve performed dances about the wind, the land and the ocean so we acknowledge our environment and how valuable it is to us as Pacific islanders.”

Thursday 17 March 2011

Pacific Climate Change Roundtable welcomes input from the Civil Society

Rev. Tafue Lusama meets with

17 March, Alofi, Niue - The voice of the Civil Society is being raised loud and clear at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Alofi, Niue this week.

Ensuring the PCCR is an ‘all inclusive’ gathering, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) funded several NGO representatives to be a part of the Pacific meeting on climate change. They are also joined by other NGO’s who are present at the PCCR.

“I think that it is a good reflection on the efforts that we made to try and bring civil society representatives here to Niue,” said Espen Ronneberg the SPREP Climate Change Adviser.

“With the strong representation of the NGO’s present, I think that can only improve the work of the Roundtable, and we need to try and keep up this momentum.”

The Pacific Climate Action Network was given a separate speaking slot on the PCCR agenda, presenting during the session that focused on preparations for the next climate change conference of the parties in Durban this year, the host of the next Climate Change Conference of the Parties.

“We need to keep the cooperation between the NGO’s and the governments of the Pacific,” said Rev. Tafue Lusama the Chairman of the Board for the Pacific Climate Action Network.

“We recognise the need to be together as one in raising our climate change as we can’t afford to have different voices.”

CAN Pacific is a network of member organisations from all over the Pacific committed to combating negative impacts of climate change. It began with two organisations, the Tuvalu CAN and the Cook Islands CAN and has now grown to seven organisations including Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Niue and New Zealand.

The vision of CAN Pacific is to – ‘strive actively towards achieving the protection of the Pacific and global climate in a manner which promotes equity and social justice between peoples, sustainable development of all communities, and protection of the Pacific environment.’

The key priorities of CAN Pacific are to continue working with the Pacific governments, lobby the issue of gender and climate change to be fully recognised in the Pacific region and within the process of the United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and thirdly to encourage aid funds that come into the Pacific be for projects ‘on the ground’ that benefit local communities and are not spent on consultants and further planning.

“I find this inclusive approach that got us here very interesting and encouraging, it shows there is an open window for us to work closely with regional bodies and our national governments and we’d love for this to continue. Discussions in the meeting are really interesting and we’ll try our best to do our NGO part.”

Updated action plan on Pacific climate change to be released

The Pacific Climate Change Rountable, Alofi, Niue
16 March, Alofi, Niue - The Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change 2006 – 2015 is a document that was at the centre of discussion at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Alofi, Niue.

The PIFACC (as it is known) is a regional plan that aims to ensure the Pacific Island peoples and communities build their capacity to be resilient to the risks and impacts of climate change by helping to drive concrete actions in different areas.

These are; implementing adaptation measures; governance and decision-making; improving our understanding of climate change; education, training and awareness; contributing to global greenhouse gas reduction; and partnerships and cooperation.

The PIFACC underwent a review in 2010 to gauge the effectiveness of this plan and to analyse how it is being used by countries and regional partners.

It was found that the PIFACC was a useful document but it had low awareness and limited use.

“It became evident that many of our countries are using the PIFACC to guide their national climate change policies, not all of them are doing so,” said Espen Ronneberg the Climate Change Adviser at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“Regional partners are often referencing the framework in their proposals but it is not always fully incorporated in them. There is a need for a streamlined approach to ensure the PIFACC is truly implemented by the different activities at the regional level and the benefits to the countries are in line with the national priorities outlined in the framework.”

During the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Alofi, Niue, all participants were brought up to date on the progress of the PIFACC review and the response to the recommendations from the review.

A monitoring and evaluation framework to track the progress of the PIFACC is to be included, along with a more user friendly executive summary and the inclusion of national and regional outputs.

In other words, the PIFACC will become more useful and relevant for the Pacific region.

“The Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change is driven by national priorities. We’re trying to find the best way that the regional level of activities can support the national climate change priorities and be targeted towards country needs.”

It is planned the new PIFACC will be ready by June this year.

The Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change (PIFACC) can be found at:

Funding fair at the PCCR

16 March Alofi, Niue - Bringing people together was one of the goals of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable held in Alofi, Niue this week, and to help bring the donors together with climate change experts, a 'Funding Fair' was held.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) hosted a dinner and funding fair for all participants, allowing for countries and NGO’s to spend time with different donors to talk informally and discuss possible paths of collaboration together.

“It was very useful,” said Pasha Carruthers of the Cook Islands, “we met with the EU and AusAID, it was quick and useful to have that ‘face-to-face’ time and is much better than having endless presentations, it’s nice to have a conversation with our donors.”

She recommends the funding fair be a continuing component of the PCCR and to allow for SPREP to prepare for a more structured event in 2013.

Meetings with ADB at the Funding Fair
The Solomon Islands representative at the PCCR, Chanel Iroi also agrees the funding fair should continue, saying this regional gathering improves each time it is held.

“It shows the PCCR is a forum where the government, NGO’s, resident organisations and donors come together to deliberate and discuss a common goal which is effecting all of us in the region.”

“I think the funding fair is a welcome part of this forum because you talk directly to the donors, those who you get funds from the help you implement development projects in our country.”

It is not only the countries that found the funding fair an effective way to allow for information talks with donors, the civil society attending the PCCR also learnt a valuable lesson from the event and encourages SPREP to ensure this is to become a part of future forums.

“I learnt that NGO’s really have to be prepared, bring your proposals with you to these events,” said Ulamila Kurai Wragg of the Pacific Gender and Climate Change Coalition.

“NGO’s should not be scared of the funders or the amount of money you ask for, just make sure that when you ask for it you have the proposal ready and then take it to the funders in the manner that they would like to hear.”

During the dinner and funding fair hosted by SPREP, a presentation was made by the Global Environment Fund Adviser for the Pacific, Mr Joe Stanley of SPREP. He gave a brief overview of GEF funding in the region and a glimpse to the future path.

Donors present at the fund fair included the EU, ADB, AusAID, UNDP and UN REDD. The NGO, was also part of the fair, sharing information about their role and work in supporting the Pacific in addressing climate change issues.

Tonga presents at Pacific Climate Change Roundtable

15 March, Alofi, Niue - Tonga’s achievements towards addressing climate change as a nation was showcased during the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Alofi, Niue.

The Kindgom of Tonga is the first of the Pacific members of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to produce a joint national action plan for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management.

The action plan was approved by Cabinet in Tonga in July last year.

The plan has helped bring two separate bodies together that work on similar issues to work in a more unified manner under the one action plan that covers all sectors, instead of working independently and often duplicating efforts. It addresses issues in relation to climate change, sea level rise, extreme events and geological hazards.
“This plan started with political support in 2009,”said Lupe Matoto of the technical and sustainable development division in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

Luisa Malolo, Lupe Matoto, Dr Netatua Pelesikoti SPREP, Saia Kami PACC Coordinator Tonga

“We also carried out a lot of consultation with stakeholders, nationally we haven’t been so quiet, and we have achieved a lot in terms of collaboration with other stakeholders.”

The Vision of the Joint National Action Plan (JNAP) on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management for Tonga is to ‘promote and ensure safe, healthy, secure and resilient communities to climate change impacts and disaster risks’.

The plan has six goals in all covering good governance, enhanced technical knowledge and an increase in education and understanding of the JNAP, analysis and assessment of climate change impacts and disaster risk, enhanced community preparedness and resilience to all disasters, technically reliable, economically affordable and environmentally sound support to Tonga and strong partnerships between government agencies, NGO’s and private sectors.

“In preparing this plan we learnt that you need really good teamwork for this to work well, teamwork and strong partnerships. It is also best if there is direct involvement of the communities in project activities to ensure ownership and there is a real need for donor coordination to avoid duplication.”

Other major achievements by the Kingdom of Tonga include the passing of two legislations, one being the Environment Management Act 2010 which has led to the establishment of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Renewable Energy Amendment Act 2010 and the Tonga Energy Roadmap 2010 – 2020 was formed which steps out the plan for Tonga to use more renewable energy.

Tonga has completed their second national communications, a report which is required under the United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which will be submitted to cabinet for endorsement.

“We’ve taken the first step, now we need to follow through and carry out this work. We’re hopeful that partners will take our JNAP and other related action plans on board to see how we can all work on this together.”

The Kindgom of Tonga has also established a Parliament Standing Committee for Environment and Climate Change which will discuss any issues on a cabinet level to fast track any outstanding issues on climate change. Every quarter the Ministry on Environment and Climate Change will host a national climate change roundtable with resident donors and all relevant stakeholders, the first one was held last year with the next climate change roundtable to be held next month.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Met Services ‘Pacific Desk’ for the region to be based at SPREP

14 March 2011, Alofi, Niue - An update on the work of the Pacific Meteorological Services was presented during a special lunchtime session at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtablen (PCCR) in Alofi, Niue.
This segment by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) was to inform participants about the work that has taken place since the Review of the Pacific Meteorological Services was completed a year ago.

The Review was held over a period of two years and involved in country visits of eight different SPREP members. It concluded with 10 key recommendations that were divided into three sub groups; Strengthening of the Fiji Meteorological Services; Regional support and Coordination; Strengthening National Meteorological Services.

“We’ve made some progress with the strengthening of regional support and coordination, which more or less means we have covered 80% of the review recommendations in that regard,” said Dean Solofa the Pacific Islands Global Climate Observation System (PIGCOS) at SPREP.

“Forming the ‘Pacific Desk’ at SPREP to help manage and implement the incoming ten-year strategy to bring about stronger met services in our region. It will consist of a team led by the Meteorology Climatology Adviser (MeCA), a new position for our region.”

The ‘Pacific desk’ will also provide technical support for strengthening meteorological services to the Pacific island countries and territories. This team establishes the foundation to carry out the recommendations made in the regional met service review.

“This will support SPREP’s role in helping the meteorology departments of the region provide a stronger service for their communities, SPREP is very pleased to be able to assist with this,” said David Sheppard the SPREP Director.

“We understand the importance of the met services to the Pacific and our role in supporting them is one we take seriously.”

The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation is a partner providing support for the ‘Pacific desk’ which plans to be in action by July this year.

Roundtable discussions underway on mobilising climate change resources

14 March 2011, Alofi, Niue - The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) is officially underway in Alofi, Niue with the theme “Mobilising Climate Change Resources for the Pacific”.

With the concern of Pacific countries being the most vulnerable on earth to the impacts of climate change, over 100 delegates from all over the world are gathering at the four day conference to address the urgent need to accelerate climate change finance through welcoming the increase involvement of donors and partners.

At today’s’ opening ceremony, a minute of silence was held in respect and memory of those from Christchurch, New Zealand and Japan who have undergone huge tragedies.

Mr David Sheppard, SPREP Director
“The tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, following so closely after the Christchurch earthquake remind us again of the power of nature and the vulnerability of Pacific nations to climate change and to natural disasters. The impacts of cyclone Heta in this country (Niue) in 2004 further underline this vulnerability,” said the Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“The issue of climate finance has been repeatedly emphasised by our leaders, and this is reflected in the theme for this roundtable.

“We all recognize that there must be a quantum leap in funding for climate change in the countries of our region, in particular for focused adaptation and mitigation programmes. We greatly appreciate commitments made under the Copenhagen Accord to provide 100 billion US dollars per annum by 2020 to support climate change efforts by developing countries,” he added.

“Climate finance must support systems and structures which exist at national and regional levels. It is vital that donor efforts be coordinated and sharply addresses the priorities developed by Pacific countries.”

Hon. Toke Talagi Premier of Niue

Premier of Niue, Hon. Toke Talagi hopes that one of the outcome of the PCCR are set plans for adaptation measures and mitigating infrastructure to help the Pacific survive the current trends until countries are able to at least stabilise their climate situation and hopefully reverse it; as it is already clear and recognised that these are generational decisions and new phenomena.

“Our current work of preparing the budgets to help implement the five-year National Strategic Plan will help us with our climate change objectives priorities and funding options.

“For the funding institutions and donor countries we urge you not just to pledge the funds but to ensure they are released in a timely manner so that we can activate our plans and programs.”

The Roundtable is seen as the premier forum for discussion on climate change issues in the Pacific involving all agencies and stakeholders as partners.

The meeting is currently underway and is from the 14th to the 18th of March.

Choir singing at the opening ceremony

Monday 14 March 2011

Pacific Climate Change Roundtable 2011 Niue Tour: Part 2

For the conference goers at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Niue this year, the meeting kicked off with a tour the ended with all participants hosted by the village of Avatele.  Great meal, great entertainment and new friendships were formed with the visit!

Welcome to Avatele!

Participants greeted by Avatele with a cool drink

Entertainment by the ladies of Avatele!

Kaikai time!


Turn to the right!

Avatele dance team!

Getting ready!

Dance team ready to go on stage!

On stage!

Final number from the hosts

Farewell song before it was back on the tour bus for the participants

Sunday 13 March 2011

Pacific Climate Change Roundtable Tour, Niue, 2011

12 March, 2011 -  These images were captured during the PCCR Tour in Niue, it was a wonderful day in Niue - with great Niue hospitality, sunshine and time to learn more about the island and the environment projects underway.  These images are from Part one of our tour, still to be uploaded are the images from Avatele, where the PCCR participants were hosted to lunch and entertainment.

Fakaalofa lahi atu Niue!

Lofa Misa and Rossylyn Misiepo of Niue

Mr Sionetasi Pulehetoa, Director of the Niue Department of Meteorology and Climate Change.  The tour began with a visit of Department.

Next stop on the tour was the Niue Foou Hosptial to visit the Solar Photovoltaic System

Mr Riibeta Abeta of Kiribati and Mr Ben Namakin of WWF SPPO

Tour of the Solar Photovoltaic Systems at the Niue Foou Hospital

Ms. Pasha Carruthers of the Cook Islands

This picture says it all....Niue Power Corporation

Visiting the Niue Wharf

Mr Saia Kami, Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Coordinator, Tonga

View from the Wharf

Niue hosting the biggest climate change conference for the Pacific

10 March 2011 - Over 100 people will gather next week in Alofi, Niue to discuss an issue that is at the forefront of the region - climate change.

The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR), held every two years, is bringing together participants from all the countries and territories in the region and the different organisations that have an interest in climate change and its impacts, seeking to help pave a way forward on how we address this.

Next week in Niue, it will also be an opportunity to hear of achievements made based upon the outcomes of the last PCCR which was hosted in the Marshall Islands in 2009.

“Climate change has always been a high priority for us, we are looking forward to people coming to Niue for the meeting and we hope the outcomes will be successful for everyone.” said Niue’s Premiere, Mr. Toke Talagi.

“In Niue we understand the importance of ensuring we can build our resilience through climate change mitigation and adaption, but we are also working to ensure that we can build our economic resilience and sustain our own developments over the long term.”

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has worked with partners over the past months to ensure the meeting has a regional view and input.

It is hoped the PCCR will bring about better dialogue and contact between professionals, technical officers and people who work on climate change. It is planned that these discussions will have a specific focus on areas such as the SPREP study on climate change finance.

“For SPREP it’s a very important meeting, we take the view that is a meeting for the region as we’ve worked with other regional agencies and key donors to collaborate on the agenda and we’ll continue to collaborate as we move forward,” said Mr. David Sheppard, Director of SPREP.

Mr. Andrew Yatilman, Director of the Office of Environment and Emergency Management in the Federated States of Micronesia is looking forward to the PCCR helping to open doors with accessing funding towards climate change adaptation.

“We have been doing planning and a lot of discussion in meetings over this month, but we notice that the actual implementation of adaptation projects is not happening because of no resources. We hope the meeting in Niue will come up with concrete actions on how to access funding towards climate change adaptation.”

The Cook Islands will also be attending the PCCR in Niue next week, and the new Government has put climate change as an issue of high priority for them and they are looking forward to a successful PCCR meeting.

“The environment is our number one asset, it underpins our tourism industry which is our number one economic driver and if we don’t look after it or fix it the problems associated with it very quickly, we put at risk our ability to earn through the tourism industry,” stated Mr. Mark Brown, the Minister of Finance for the Cook Islands.

For more information on the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, 2011 in Alofi Niue, please visit:

The meeting will be held in Alofi, Niue from 14 to 18 March, 2011.

Climate change financing at center of Pacific meeting

10 March 2011 - Mobilising climate change resources is the theme of the 2011 Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) hosted in Niue this month.

Held every two years, the biggest climate change conference for the Pacific brings together well over 100 people together to discuss important issues for our Pacific. It aims at ensuring regional coordination and collaboration when carrying out climate change activities in this region.

The PCCR also works to monitor and evaluate the progress made in meeting the Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change, the document which outlines how the Pacific will address climate change together.

“We hope to focus on not just the financial aspects,” said Mr. Espen Ronneberg, SPREP’s Climate Change Adviser, “but also the technical support and information needs that the region requires to take action on climate change adaptation, mitigation, capacity building and so forth”.

The last PCCR was held in 2009 in the Marshall Islands, one of the very first items on the agenda for the Niue meeting is the report on progress made on the 2009 PCCR recommendations. SPREP member countries and territories will also report back on the progress made from a national perspective.

A website outlining all information pertaining to the PCCR can be found at: this includes a copy of the draft agenda for the 2011 PCCR, important documents and information about the logistics of the meeting.

The 2011 PCCR is held from 14 to 18 March, in Alofi, Niue.