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.”