Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Climate change policy planning in the Pacific

Mona Ainu'u - Broadcasting Corporation of Niue

23 May 2011, Apia, Samoa - National planning and policy frameworks will not work unless, linkages are established and effective approaches taken, according to panellists of climate change strategic planners and policy makers at the "Lessons Learned for Future Action" conference.

For the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) it can be a challenge to gain momentum following policies and national planning.  The need to produce policies is neccessary, but they must also be effectively implemented, national planning is important to construct a robust document for all sectors to follow and sustain.

Albert Williams, Vanuatu

“There is a need for government support as well as donor funding for activities on climate change”, said Albert Williams of Vanuatu.

Plans and policies need funding to implement, there has been an urgent call from all Small Islands Developing States for donor agencies to fast track and accelerate funding.  Without the funds, implementation of national plans and policy frameworks is difficult.

Then there is also the issue of 'over-consultation' and too many policies, as pointed out by Sione Fulivai, the Second National Communication Project Officer from Tonga.

“For some communities at grassroots level, there are too many policies for consultation and not enough action taken to progress ahead and mobilising people can be a challenge."

One clear message from this afternoons meeting, is that there is a need to collaboratively engage all parties if there is to be an effective future policy to address real Climate Change issues in Small Island States.

It is a huge task to confront to make sure each policy remains neutral and that all parties are considered.  There is a fundamental obligation to clearly strategise and clarify plans so they are effective and without prejudice.

For the Carribean countries, Dr. Kenrick Lesliehead of the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (5Cs), emphasised their regional need to establish an institution to address the real problem of climate change with positive results.

“The heads of Carribean countries in 2007 asked the centre to put together a framework that would address the issues of climate change and help us in our development that will be resilient to the impacts.  The heads approved this in 2009 and we are now in the process of putting together the implementation plan of that framework.  So you can see that has regional but has in its component at the national level”.

The approach by the Carribean countries to combine efforts in strengthening its resilient policies, was applauded by other SIDS with an encouraging message to review their own approach.

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