Friday 9 December 2011

Protest to Make a Difference

An effort from the Civil Society Organisations calling upon the decision makers inside the meeting rooms to make a difference and bring about a positive change for survival.  The protest drew large crowds with their chants, time will tell if world leaders are listening.

A rally pushing for a stronger outcome from Durban

PACC will boost plans on Communications

(L-R) PACC Regional Project Manager Mr Taito Nakalevu,
PACC Solomon Is Coordinator  Mr Casper Supa, and
PACC Palau Coordinator Mr Jerome Temengil

Durban, South Africa, 9 December - The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project has raised its profile at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.  Over the last two weeks, the project that carries out adaptation actions at the community level in 14 Pacific countries has shared the achievements and lessons learnt through many different platforms.

During the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework to the Convention on Climate Change PACC has been featured at numerous side events, showcased the short film "Vital Roads" and distributed different resources about the project and what has been achieved.  Presentations have been made by the national coordinators of Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga so audiences have heard directly from those who are leading these activities in-country.  Partners of the multi-million dollar project have encouraged the Pacific-wide project to continuing promoting the adaptation work that is done.

“These presentations with key results are what we should take to the audience especially to the donor countries of the Special Climate Change Fund as it will put them in a better position to raise funds,” said Mr Rawleston Moore, the Global Environment Facility Small Island Developing States Focal Point.

United Nations Development Programme – Global Environment Facility Senior Technical Advisor – Adaptation (Global) Mr Pradeep Kurukulasuriya shared the same sentiment.

“Like GEF mentioned we need more of these products, there are not enough of these communicated on what most of the countries are already doing with the limited resources already available.”

“We can use these projects that are ongoing to communicate what is being done with resources that have been mobilised; it can only help because in the eyes of the donors there is still misconception that assessments are being done but not actual implementation on the ground," he said.

H.E Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, the Ambassador from Samoa to the United Nations was part of the panel that

“The presentation shared with us is what is actually happening on the ground and too often the donors do not get to hear our message but I think of having this as an opportunity for the accountability process.”

With support from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research Climate Change Capacity Development Programme, the PACC Project recently added to its regional team a Communications Coordinator to ensure the third component of the project, that is Communications and Technical Support is achieved.

This shows commitment by the project and the value of communicating the work and lessons learnt to its audience.

Member countries are currently finalising communications plans and have begun work on developing information packages and visibility materials to raise the awareness.

The PACC Project focus on three development sectors, Samoa, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, Tokelau, and Cook Islands are under the Coastal Management Sector; Fiji, Solomon Islands, Palau and Papua New Guinea are under the Food Production and Food Security Sector; and Niue, Nauru, Tuvalu, Tonga and Republic of the Marshall Islands are under the Water Resource Management Sector.

The project is implemented by UNDP in partnership with SPREP and funded by GEF and the Australian Agency for International Development with support from the UNITAR C3D+ Programme.

Climate Change Action in Urban Centres

Lami (Image Source:

The people of Lami Town, Fiji are being empowered to combat the impacts of climate change through a partnership between the Fiji Government and the United Nations Habitat.

The Climate Change Action in Urban Centres began in 2010 and is a pilot project that to enable the people in adapting and mitigating climate change impacts at community level.

The project was showcased at the 17th Conference of Parties delegates in Durban, South Africa during a side event with the hope to create more awareness and welcome further assistance to continue the project.

Fiji’s Director of Environment Mr Jope Davetanivalu said, “Lami town is vulnerable to coastal erosion and flooding from the nearby rivers that surround the town and the Lami Town Council and the Government has been spending a lot of money to try and rehabilitate the area against natural disasters.”

He added that through the community mobilisation the council was able to develop the Disaster Risk Management Plan to act as their strategy in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“So far from the coastal erosion point of view, the council has utilised tyres that are creating rubbish to act as a seawall or seabed toward coastal erosion, secondly the vehicles are running on bio-fuel and thirdly they have changed their light bulbs to the more economical one which consumes less energy.

“And on top of that they have undertaken community mobilisation of many business communities, local communities, villages and settlements in Lami.

Mr Davetanivalu is glad that the health component is taken into consideration in regards to climate change, mitigation and adaptation which is often left aside.

“The Lami Health Unit works well with the Ministry of Hope by helping the communities on the health effects of climate change.”

Chief Executive Officer of the
LamiTown Council Ms Priya Ieli

Lami town is adjacent to Suva, the capital of Fiji and is home to 22,000 people located near the near the coast with five rivers running through it which makes it highly vulnerable.

“The area is mostly an industrial and manufacturing area and also reclaimed so we are vulnerable and we need take action now,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the Lami Town Council Ms Priya Ieli

 “We have been meeting with the ministry of the local government on the issue of resettlement that are along the coastal area, through the Vulnerability and Adaptation there is a lot that can be achieved.”

The concept of the project was presented to the Lami Town Council in which they took ownership of and has been successfully assisting the people in the area ever since.

The project tends to continue with no definite end time and Lami plans to target more problematic areas for example the mainstreaming of climate change into the budgeting, and the policy development process.

AOSIS call for Legally Binding Agreement

The Alliance of the Small Island States is calling for a new legally binding protocol to exist alongside the Kyoto Protocol that would include mitigation commitments from non-Kyoto Parties, mitigation actions for developing countries, and the means of implementation for developing countries.

Agreement on legal form is necessary to provide certainty to Parties so that they are willing to raise their mitigation ambition.

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary of Environment and delegate to the 17th Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, Ms Taina Tagicakibau said,

“The legally binding agreement is tied in to all other obligations to meet their cost of responsibility of polluting the world. They have to deliver on this and give their equivalent contribution on this in money terms and to assist us developing countries to undertake capacity building, adaptation and mitigation projects to be able to meet our own obligation under this convention.

“It’s particularly important for us not only to make them comply but for the fact to have them to pay their contribution in terms of money otherwise we’ll continue to have this framework that is an empty shell or empty coat because it doesn’t have the capitalisation of fund.

The AOSIS has called for a Durban mandate to negotiate a new protocol under the climate convention by 2012 with ambitious mitigation goals consistent with holding warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Seal the Durban Deal: Minister Fugui

Press release from the Solomon Islands Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology

Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change,
Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hon John Moffat Fugui

Speaking at the High Level Segment of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hon John Moffat Fugui, MP, said, “Africa is the undisputed cradle of humankind”.

“In Durban, we are gathered to write the next chapter in the story of our journey. This journey had started millions of years ago in Africa. Ironically, it is on African soil that the fate of humanity is to be sealed” said the Minister. He continued, “Today, we are presented that Opportunity” and we must “Seal the Durban Deal”.

The Minister is confident that Heads of States, Heads of Governments and Global Environment Ministers can depart Durban with a balanced outcome.  “We are leaders chosen by our people. As such, we have an obligation to do what is morally Right, Just, and Noble”. Hence, he went on to say, “delivering a balanced outcome depends on strong leadership by the Annex I Parties. It also requires Non-Annex I Parties, who are major emitters, to take on some of these responsibilities”.

The Minister continued, that, his delegation expects to depart Durban with the following outcomes in their brief cases:

    • First, urgent actions have to be taken to reduce greenhouse emissions to desired levels. Solomon Islands wishes to ensure that the mean global temperature is reduced to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
    • Second, we must ensure we have a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with more ambitious targets.
    • Third, we must ensure we have an inclusive mandate for a new legally binding instrument. This will complement the Kyoto Protocol with binding mitigation targets for those who are not party to the Kyoto Protocol and mitigation actions for major developing countries.
    • Fourth, we must ensure the operationalization of a financial architecture provides a scaled-up financial support to vulnerable countries in order to respond effectively to the adverse effects of climate change. In Durban, an Agreement has to be reached to operationalize and capitalize the Green Climate Fund.
    • And, Fifth, we must implement the Cancun Agreement.

Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change,
Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hon John Moffat Fugui

On adaptation, the Minister said, Solomon Islands is implementing its National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPA). He also said that we are further implementing “the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Project and the Adaptation Fund Board Project of which Solomon Islands is one of the first beneficiaries globally and the first recipient in the Pacific region to address Agriculture and Food Security. Here, faith-based organizations are involved. Here, also, gender issues are given high priority”.

On mitigation, the Minister went on to say that under the UN-REDD Program, Solomon Islands is developing a National REDD+ Strategy, which is a prerequisite for the REDD readiness. We have also completed our National Renewable Energy Strategy.

On mitigation, also, the Minister recognized that Taiwan is a major donor, providing renewable energy, to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in the country. He requested, therefore, that the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat recognizes the contributions of Taiwan. “Like Palestine”, he said, “it is timely, just and proper if Taiwan is made an observer to participate in and contribute to issues of and solutions to Climate Change”.

The Minister went on to remind parties that Responsibility comes with Accountability. “Our children will hold us accountable if we don’t hear their silent voices. Our grandchildren will hold this against us, if we don’t hear their cries”, concluded the Minister.

For these reasons of inter-generational equity, the central message of Minister Fugui’s Statement to the High Level Segment of the Seventeenth Session of the Conference of the Parties and the Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol is that we must Save Tomorrow, Today! And Seal the Durban Deal!

Contact Person:

Rence Sore
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology
Mobile: + 27 (0) 76 355 3640
Durban, South Africa

From Tuvalu to South Africa, battling climate change for survival

L - R Ms. Pepetua Latasi Tuvalu, Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti, SPREP

Durban, South Africa, 9 December - A young woman from Tuvalu sits at the head table during the climate change negotiations in Durban, South Africa, presiding as the Chair of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group.

She is one of a delegation of eight from Tuvalu that is here in Durban to raise their voice on behalf of their local communities in Tuvalu, calling upon the humanity of parties to the Convention on Climate Change at these negotiations, to consider what is at stake.

“In October this year Tuvalu declared a state of emergency because of a drought, we had a water shortage for six months. We have ongoing coastal erosion problems in Tuvalu and our water security is under threat as our water table lens is inundated with salt water,” said Ms. Pepetua Latasi.

“We are experiencing all these problems, and that is why it’s important for us to be here, to fight for our survival.”

She is no stranger to the climate change negotiations. She represented Tuvalu at the negotiating table first in 2004 for three years before leaving to further her education. Now, Ms. Latasi has returned to play a leading role within the halls of the climate change negotiations as Chair of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group.

This special group consisting of approximately 12 experts was established to assist the Least Developed Country parties to the United Nations Framework to the Convention on Climate Change in preparing and implementing their national climate change adaptation programe of work.

Tuvalu has worked hard in the negotiations and this year is no different as the island nation endeavors towards an agreement in Durban, a new legally binding agreement to get all countries on board for deeper emission targets, agreement on a work program for Loss & Damage and to operationalise the Green Climate Fund so Small Islands Developing States can start to receive funds to help carry out adaptation work on the ground.

“I am happy to be back in process but was expecting more, that we’d get an agreement from this process. We are still being positive even though it is hard to stay positive, we are hoping for the best.”

Climate change collaboration across the oceans

L - R Dr Mark Bynoe, Dr Ulric Trotz, Mr David Sheppard, Dr Kenrick Leslie, Mr Taito Nakalevu

Durban, South Africa, 9 December - The Island Pavilion at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa was a very successful partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5C’s). 

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding this year to work closer together to address common climate change issues in the Pacific and Caribbean. 

During the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa an Island Pavilion was established bringing the two regions together, hosting a series of side events and seminars on climate change issues and the implications for Small Island Developing States. 

Mr David Sheppard, Director-General of SPREP
“This has been an excellent start for collaboration for SPREP and the 5C’s on climate change,” said the Director-General of SPREP, Mr. David Sheppard.

“The partnership between the Alliance of Small Island States is strong, we are glad to extend this to other areas outside of the formal negotiation process.”

“This has been a fruitful unity, our plans for the future to learn from each other and provide support for each other will help strengthen our service we provide to the Caribbean,” said Dr Kenrick Leslie, the Director of the 5C’s.

Dr Mark Bynoe of the 5C's
Plans to work together in 2012 were discussed during a meeting between the two organizations. One of the key first steps will be an exchange between staff in the Pacific and Caribbean to take place within the next three months. This will help share experiences and strengthen the cooperation on key technical issues on climate change between the Pacific and the Caribbean.

For more information on SPREP please visit:
For more information on the 5C’s please visit:

Common statement by EU, LDC and AOSIS

Durban, South Africa, December, 2011 - The least developed countries, the Alliance of Small Island States and the European Union are united in their desire for an ambitious outcome in Durban. 

We believe that the world has had a lot of time to think. What we need is not more thinking. What we need is more action.

The gap between our ambitions and the current pledges is simply too wide. And we need not to remind anyone of the scale of climatic threats facing the most vulnerable countries in the world as a result of climate change. The facts are clear and we are still too far from where we need to be to secure the most vulnerable countries’ right to sustainable development.

The chance to reach our objective is getting smaller as time passes and we need to start this process today. For many countries, this is a matter of survival and this process should be able to deliver an answer to meet their worries.

We need to deliver in Durban. We are ready to operationalize the Green Fund and the other Cancun institutions; to deliver what we have already agreed in Cancun. But higher ambitions on mitigation action are crucial. What we need is to effectively stop climate change. And that can only happen if all parties to the UNFCCC process will be committed to concrete efforts.

Hence, we need firm and clear decisions mapping out next steps that deliver the ambition we need. This includes agreeing an amendment of the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period together with a robust mandate and roadmap for a legally binding instrument. Under this instrument, all parties to the UNFCCC need to commit, respecting the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.

The price of buying time is rising. Durban must deliver. The EU, LDCs and AOSIS are ready to undertake concrete obligations to manage the climate change challenge. We urge others to join.

‘No delays to 2020’

"This is reality and tomorrow is going to be worse than today.”- Hon. Col. Samuela Saumatua, Fiji's Minister of Local Government, Housing, Urban Development and Environment, speaking at an AOSIS Climate Change Press Conference in Durban.

Durban, South Africa, 7 December, 2011 - The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) are standing firm on their decision to reject any delays for a legally binding agreement starting after 2020.

Speaking at a press conference at the 17th Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, Grenada’s Foreign Minister Hon. Karl Hood and Chair of AOSIS said, “Speaking about 2020 at a time when anything should come into force is what we totally reject because we believe that we have all that it takes to begin the work right now, we believe that waiting is a disaster. 

“If we do not apply the break as it were and come back we will get to a point of no return so we cannot accept 2020 at any time at all to put anything into force because we believe the time is now. Any pledges, any targets must be based on some scientific analysis and the science has said to us that we cannot wait until 2020.”

Countries such as Barbados in the Caribbean, Tuvalu and Kiribati in the Pacific would be completely underwater with a sea level rise of more than two metres.

With a day left of the negotiations the AOSIS are maintaining their stand hoping on the countries political will to do the right thing for the survival of their countries.

“My question is – Is this COP 17 or will this be the ‘corpse’ the burial of this process? I hope we do not have to call the undertaker at the end of the day for a process that does not seek our political will.”

Fiji’s Environment Minister, Hon. Colonel Samuela Saumatua asked, “How long are we going to wait?”

“The science is telling us, reality is telling us, experience on the ground is telling us that the situation is not going to improve but we carry on as if we are almost blind folded; are we ostriches that we bury our head in the sand and pretend things are not as they are, this is reality and tomorrow is going to be worse than today.”

Climate Envoy from Barbados and Chief AOSIS negotiator on Finance Mr Selwin Hart shared same concerns saying that it is most unfortunate how the process is developing where many countries seem to think that the small islands have time on their hands when in fact they do not and action needs to be taken now and immediately.

“The positions of the AOSIS are guided by the impacts members are experiencing and the inherent dangers in postponing a comprehensive and ambitious response.

“We are very small countries, we don’t have any economic military or any other power to exert within this process, we just have the power of our situation and it is unfortunate how this process is developing.

“There is this impression that some of our positions are extreme and that we are isolated, no, most of our positions have the support of the overwhelming support of the parties.

The AOSIS is also pushing for a legally binding framework that will encompass all, including those who are not party to the Kyoto Protocol because the small island states believe the KP is no longer enough.