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.