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Pacific Climate Change Roundtables come to a close

Pacific Climate Change Roundtables come to a close

By Bill Jaynes, The Kaselehlie Press:

July 5, 201, Nadi, Fiji - David Sheppard, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme gave a closing address as the last agenda item of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtables (PCCR) that ended this afternoon in Denarau, Fiji.

“The main stand out for me has been how much has been achieved since the Niue Round Table 2011,” he said. “I’m pleased to see there have been many significant results achieved since the Niue Roundtable and we have heard over the last three days about the major outcomes from the Finance, Knowledge Management, Adaptation, and Mitigation Working Groups.”

“What I’ve been very pleased about is the clear and genuine partnership that has developed over the last few year. Partnership is one of those ‘motherhood words’ that we all agree with—but it’s not always seen in reality,” he said and smiled.

He said that the Pacific Region has experienced partnership in action, a partnership that reinforces the theme of this PCCR—‘Building resilience to climate change through collaboration”.

He said that the key points that stuck in his mind from the PCCR is the importance of good science, while ensuring that it builds on and reinforces traditional knowledge, and is also made available to those that need it most, particularly managers on the ground. During the PCCR the participants heard of many practical examples.

Another key point was the examples about many positive initiatives on adaptation and mitigation in the Pacific region over the last few years. The message was made during the PCCR, that we need to get the balance right between adaptation and mitigation, and also balance within adaptation between infrastructure and nature based options.

Thirdly he said that “we also need to focus on resolving critical ‘non-climate change’ environmental and associated social issues, as we deal with the challenges of climate change. Issues such as resource depletion, invasive species, land and marine management, will be worsened by climate change and we must apply an integrated approach to their resolution.”

“Fourth, we need to reinforce the state of urgency facing our region regarding climate change and associated impacts, such as sea level rise. We are the smallest emitters of greenhouse gases but the first to be impacted. We need actions at all levels, from international to national. International commitments on financing need to be met and delivered to countries now, and not just talked about. Our region should continue to argue for the strongest possible targets for limiting future temperature increases and we should get behind and support AOSIS efforts,” he urged.

AOSIS is the Alliance of Small Island States.

The PCCR was conducted in an informal manner in order to encourage collaboration and idea sharing.

Next week will be the first time in history that the Pacific region, and in the Small Island Developing States, ever combine Climate and Disaster Risk Roundtables as well as the Pacific Meteorological Council. Those meeting begin on Monday.


More Lessons learnt by Papua New Guinea at PCCR

By Ben Kedoga, NBC Radio, PNG

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Papua New Guinea like other Pacific Island countries has expressed its satisfaction with the outcomes achieved during 2013 Pacific Climate Change Roundtable.

Senior Policy Analyst with Papua New Guinea’s Office of Climate Change, OCCD, Emmajil Bogari Ahai said they are ready to return back to the country and use the information and resources gained at the 2013 PCCR to add on the work they have been doing.

“We still need to coordinate with the Government, local partners and those in the region to really benefit from regional assistance being made available by various partners both within the region and abroad and we are thankful that the 2013 PCCR has created an avenue for us to interact and also network with important partners,” Bogari said.

She says the PCCR is one avenue where all the Pacific island countries can be able to really interact and create networks to access support for programs back in Papua New Guinea.

The OCCD senior analyst says, among other things, they will be looking at immediately when they return to the country is to address the country’s coordination mechanism, and doing more work on the loss and damage of the effects of climate change and generally the country’s preparation for upcoming regional and international meetings.

However, she expressed the need for a team made up officers from different divisions within OCCD in PNG to attend future PCCRs.

“We are from the Adaptation Division of OCCD so we can talk strongly on issues when it comes to discussions on adaptation, but it future roundtable we should have representatives from the Mitigation Division so that we have a well balanced team attending the PCCR,” Bogari said.

But like other Pacific Island countries capacity and funding to attend such important meetings is a great concern.

Similar sentiments were shared by Luanne Losi, who also works as a Senior Policy Analyst with PNG’s OCCD.

She says by attending the meeting they are able to learn from what other Pacific Island countries are doing in their responses to climate change issues with the support that they get from the PNG government and other partners.

But like her colleague, she sees a big need for PNG to have a cross section of people in a country team that should be attending such meetings in the future.

“Its common sense that we cannot do everything by ourselves, we need the support of all our stakeholders, including the government, to really represent Papua New Guinea in future roundtables,” Losi said.


Niue to establish National Disaster Management Office

By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, Press Secretariat of the Government of Samoa:

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Building a National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) is a step forward for the tiny island of Niue in its efforts to address climate change issues.

Niue’s Secretary to Government, Richard Hipa, said their disaster office work was looked after by the Department of Police.

He led Niue’s delegation to this week’s 4th Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) 2013 in Nadi, Fiji. He is the former chair of PCCR.

“We are establishing a NDMO office which we do not have at the moment. We are going to have a stand-alone office. We already have the design for the office and job descriptions. We have very limited capacity, and the new office will accelerate our climate change and disaster risk programmes and ease our work loads,” he said.

Hipa said members of their Disaster Management Council have their own full time jobs but they stretch their responsibilities to also deal with climate change issues and cyclone season preparations.

“Now the NDMO will execute their roles and we hope to amalgamate all climate change related programmes under one roof.”

Hipa also talked about Niue’s joint National Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management with the inclusion of earthquakes, tsunami, and droughts whereas before it was only based largely on cyclones.

“This plan is a proactive response to reducing the risk of climate variability and the long term effects of climate change. This plan provides the basis for Adaptation initiatives including disaster risk responses in a more integrated and coordinated approach,” he said.

Hipa also emphasised the importance of an upgraded early warning system, acquiring funds for programmes and building capacity and good infrastructure.

“The Government of Niue based on the experience of cyclone Heta in 2004, has invested in public infrastructure where key utilities like water, telecommunication and power cabling are placed underground and reticulated to every home.”

Hipa said a post survey for cyclone Heta revealed that storm waves overtook the 20 meter cliffs of Niue, sweeping hundreds of meters inland damaging everything in its way.

“A project to install a water tank for each home is also in the pipeline and Government has approved another project for waterfall catchment installation. This will enable us to collect rain water.”


PCCR set up working group on loss and damage, AOSIS call for an international mechanism

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS:

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) wants institutional arrangements for an international mechanism on loss and damage to be established at the 19th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Poland in December.

Both the Pacific and Caribbean have been at the forefront of discussions pushing for an international framework to compensate small island states, who are vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters.

Representing AOSIS, Malia Talakai of the Nauru Permanent Mission in York reminded climate negotiators from the Pacific of the urgency to consolidate a unified position on loss and damage to form part of the AOSIS position.

“AOSIS position is that we are calling for an international mechanism. We see the value of existing arrangement but want it to be an international mechanism.

Talakai, who is the deputy leader negotiator for the 44 member group said loss and damage is not something new that AOSIS has been lobbying for at global climate negotiations.

“As far as I can remember the issue has been on the table. AOSIS pushed it before the pre-convention and they wanted the convention to address loss and damage. I think in 1991 Vanuatu put through that proposal because they were the chair of AOSIS at that time.

“Since then, it’s been a priority for the group and has always been on the table. Not until last year in Doha, it was the first time that loss and damage went to the highest political level. What we got last year was a step closer to what AOSIS has always wanted, said Talakai.

The three components of the AOSIS proposal on loss and damage include disaster risk management, insurance and rehabilitation and compensation.

“I think a lot of times, people misunderstand what AOSIS wants and think that AOSIS is calling for overall compensation fund. We see that as an element of what we want. We also see that building resilience through disaster risk management as important in the insurance component.

“But there will be some losses and damages that won’t be covered under adaptation for example. There is a point we can’t, even with the best disaster risk management initiatives, we will not be able to prevent the losses and damages, said Talakai.

AOSIS wants to maintain the unity in the group, especially when the concerns of the Pacific are being recognised globally and considered at the highest level of decision making.

“Keeping the unity of the group in the negotiations is really important.

“The way we have approached the negotiations is that partners have red lines and we have our own but we are trying to work together to find a way forward and deliver what we want. We start by working on the functions and modalities which is part of the mandate and the form comes after.

Talakai said the UNFCCC Secretariat will prepare two technical papers on non-economic losses and gaps on existing institutional arrangements within and outside of the Convention to be presented to State Parties before December.

“We feel there are gaps in institutional arrangements that already exist. Whether they are adequate enough to meet the entire needs of SIDS and developing countries, needs to be determined.

“We feel the current institutional arrangements are not enough to deal with the entire needs that we have. However we see some of the existing arrangement s will add value to the work of the proposed international mechanism, said Talakai.

A new working group was formed at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) this week to discuss the issue of Loss and Damage. Other working groups cover Mitigation, Adaptation, Resources and Knowledge Management.


Tuvalu seeks support in PCCR 2013
By Sini Latu, Tonga Broadcasting Commission:

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Given that Tuvalu has a small land area, and is a low lying atoll, most of its sectors are vulnerable to the impacts of Climate Change.

Tuvalu is experiencing coastal erosion, food and water security, salt water intrusion, long drought, and it has also identified health as one area of concern in Climate Change.

To address the issue of climate change on the island they have listed and documented these vulnerable sectors under the policy document, National Adaptation Program of Action and their Joint International Action Plan.

Not only that, but Tuvalu has accessed funds to implement its first three priorities under the National Adaptation Program which is Coastal Management, Food and Water Security,

A proposal to the Global Environment Facility was approved last month to look at their fisheries sector, Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Risk Management.

Tuvalu’s Acting Director of Environment, Pepetua Latasi says they had walked in to the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable 2013 to look for support from donor agencies, regional institutions and neighbouring Pacific countries to help address their plight.

Latasi said the presentations throughout the three day PCCR meeting has been interesting and useful in providing data and new direction and ideas to address the issue of Climate Change.

Tuvalu will attend the Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the Pacific Climate Change Table next week at the Sofitel Resort & Spa in Nadi Fiji.


Pacific Climate Change Roundtable celebrates Pacific Climate Change Portal
By Sini Latu, Tonga Broadcasting Commission:

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Pacific Climate Change Portal (PCCP) is a hub of information created to strengthen understanding of Climate Change issues.

It was highlighted last evening, at the Tanoa Hotel in Fiji by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and related institutions.

According to SPREPs’ Director General, David Sheppard, the value of the portal is trying to simplify, collect the right information from and to the right people, put it in the right format and in a right time frame.

Sheppard encouraged all institutions that are involved in climate change to get more involved and provide information to the portal.

He said that they should look at how they can make the portal a real success for the region, to help access the information in the Pacific Island Countries.

The portal was approved after Pacific Climate Change Roundtable and SPREP meetings were held in 2009 and 2011 with the aim of improving and raising communication and collaboration and to ensure that information is readily accessible in a coordinated and user-friendly manner.

A few of the features of the portal include an Events Calendar, Experts Directory, Image Library, Documents and the Pacific Climate Change Projects Database that is still being developed.

The Regional and International Issue Advisor for the Pacific Islands Forum Coral Pasisi says that their objective is to support the function.

She says that one of the issues that they see in the region – is that, “Information can often be seen as power and people like to hold on to it sometimes and not share it.”

Pasisi and SPREP’s Director General acknowledged the support of partners that have contributed to the success of the portal such as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, GIZ, and many others.


Fiji to look after its own Tsunami Warning Centre

By Halitesh Datt, Fiji TV:

To access the inserts and grabs:

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - With the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre soon to cease issuing tsunami warnings for the region, Fiji like other Pacific Island countries will have to beef up its own resources.

That means the Mineral Resources Department will have to be operational 24 hours throughout the week.

This in turn may require government to pump in more resources to the M.R.D to provide timely warnings.

INS Grab: Rajendra Prasad- Inter-governmental Oceans Commission

The Former Fiji Meteorological Director says this move will avoid unnecessary panic during a tsunami warning.

INS Grab: Rajendra Prasad- Inter-governmental Oceans Commission


Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre work to continue design warning change

By Halitesh Datt, Fiji TV:

To access and view the grabs:

5 July, 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre will continue its work in the region says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA, which looks after the Centre say the only change is that the region will be provided with advisories instead of warnings.

Warnings will be provided by individual country tsunami warning centres.

INS Grab: Edward Young, NOAA

The Centre will continue to provide the region with important weather related data.

A decision on whether P.T.W.C will provide warnings for countries without tsunami centre of their own will be made in Russia where Pacific Tsunami System will meet in September.

INS Grab: Edward Young, NOAA


Kiribati experience fluctuate weather events

By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, Press Secretariat of the Government of Samoa:

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - While regional climate change talks take place in Nadi, the impacts of climate change are already being felt all over the Pacific.

Kiribati, a low lying Pacific nation that comprises of a group of 33 islands has voiced their experiences of fluctuating weather events.

“This has impacted on the pattern of the wet and dry seasons where there are cases of some islands having increased occurrence of rainfalls,” said Kiribati’s Acting Director of Environment & Conservation Division, Nenenteiti Teariki-Ruatu in an interview today.

“That’s why Kiribati is keen to see the outcome of this week’s meeting in facilitating and enhancing any support mechanism to implement relevant activities at the country level.”

Ruatu is part of Kiribati delegation at the three-day 4th Pacific Climate Change Roundtable.

She said her country is raising awareness by investing in enhancing communication, education and public awareness of climate change at the national and community level.

She said the continued and consistent efforts by Government to lead the climate change campaign is very important.

“The Government of Kiribati has put climate change as a national priority,” she said.

“Adaptation is the major important issue in Kiribati, where hard and soft options are concerned. While Kiribati is focusing on adaptation, mitigation is also of importance.”

She said this is shown in Kiribati’s national commitment through the designation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Areas (PIPA), which play a key role in climate change mitigation.

She said there is also the implementation of the Kiribati Adaptation Programme III (KAP III) that integrates both hard and soft measures to addressing climate change issues at national and outer islands level, and the Cabinet approved National Climate Change & Climate Change Adaptation Framework & the Kiribati Integrated Environment Policy (KIEP) this year.

Ruatu also talked about the establishment of the Kiribati National Expert Group on Climate Change and its involvement in the formulation of the Kiribati Joint Implementation Plan (KJIP).

“We make submission of national obligatory reporting to both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change & United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which reports on national progresses made including identification of opportunities and challenges that Government of Kiribati continue to face, to fulfil its obligations as Parties to both Conventions.”

Ruatu said there are existing key policies in place that provides direction to Government to tackle the multi-disciplinary issues surrounding climate change at the country level that includes the cabinet approval of the National Climate Change & Climate Change Adaptation Framework & the Kiribati Integrated Environment Policy (KIEP) this year.

The voice of the Pacific Calling Partnership, which is a Non-Governmental Organisation, was also heard in support of the Kiribati islands.

The NGO’s Pacific Outreach Officer, Maria Timon Chi-Fang said their organization, which is based in Australia, works closely with the Government of Kiribati in addressing climate change.

“Our organization has visited areas in Kiribati that are obviously showing signs of the effects of climate change and also work with communities through NGOs,” she said.

“The community in Kiribati is very aware of the effects as they are living in one of the islands that is most vulnerable to climate change impacts.

“Unfortunately, for the communities in Kiribati they almost have no option but to adapt to the issue.”


Theme of 2013 Pacific Island Forum Leaders Meeting shared at the PCCR

By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star:

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The theme for the 44th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting has been unveiled during the final day of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Nadi, Fiji.

The leaders forum which will be held in Majuro, Marshall Islands from the 3-6 September is based on the theme “Marshalling the Pacific Response to the Climate Challenge”.

Pacific island government officials have been urged to prepare well for the Forum as it is seen as one of the very important meetings to discuss serious climate change issues affecting the Pacific community today.

Whilst climate change is at the forefront of this forum, Pacific leaders and officials are encouraged to utilise this opportunity to build Pacific solidarity in the fight against climate change.

The three key sub-themes for this forum are;

1. Accelerate energy efficiency and the transition to renewable energy in the Pacific region with a “Pacific New Energy Drive”.

2. Ensuring climate-resilient sustainable development: climate-proofing key infrastructure & adapting key industries.

3. Address longer-term threats to security, including island inhabitability, forced relocation and loss of territory.

The forum will lead to the, “Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership,” driven and owned by the Pacific islands.

It is seen as a stepping stone to the United Nations Secretary General summit in 2014, the Small Islands Developing States conference and 2015 Legally Binding Agreement.

It is also a drive to demonstrate Pacific leadership in renewable energy.

Leaders have been urged to prepare and list their national mitigation plans, targets and actions (existing and/or new) for this Forum.

The Pacific Islands Forum is an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean.

It was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum. In 1999, the name was changed; Pacific Islands Forum is more inclusive of the Forum's Oceania-spanning membership of both north and south Pacific island countries and Australia. It is an official observer at the United Nations.


Pacific Media Team led by SPREP

By Halitesh Datt, Fiji TV:

To access and view the grabs:

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - As high level climate change and weather related talks continue in Nadi this week, the role of the media has also been highlighted.

A media team consisting of journalist from and around the region are working hard to disseminate information of what is happening behind the closed doors, to the region.

This team was brought to Nadi by the Samoa based Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in a project supported by the Pacific-Australian Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program.

Our reporter Halitesh Datt who is also part of this team spoke to a few journalist on how the media is tackling the issue of climate change.

For the past seven years Bill Jaynes has been the managing editor for Kashelelei Press in the Federate States of Micronesia.

It was only until recently that he realised the important role that he can play in relaying climate change stories to the public.

INS grab – Mr. Bill Jaynes- Editor- The Kaselehlie Press, FSM

This is the media team brought together by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

Sini Latu, a Tongan journalist admits that climate change related stories are given quite a low priority by her newsroom.

INS grab - Sini Latu- Tonga Broadcasting Cooperation

However the Secretariat is working hard to change this.

Through its media outreach program, SPREP has manage to fill some of these gaps in climate reporting in the region.

INS grab – Nanette Woonton, SPREP

The Secretariat has also done a baseline survey to find out the level of understanding of Pacific reporters on climate change.

The survey revealed that there is a need to continue with such media outreach prgrammes.

INS grab – Nanette Woonton, SPREP

As many more such meetings to come in future, these journalists are tasked with reporting on informing the public about climate change.


Joint Regional Roadmap for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management explained to PCCR

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS:

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Recognition by Pacific Island Countries that there is an overlap in climate change (CC) and disaster risk management (DRM) and their shared focus on risk reduction is one of the factors that has moved them to consider an integrated regional strategy on disaster risk management and climate change.

“The current regional policies on climate change and disaster risk management will both end in 2015 thus the purpose of the joint meeting is to prepare the next regional policy but instead of two separate ones; there will be integrated policy on climate change and disaster risk management,” explained Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

Integration is already happening at national level, said Brian Dawson of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’ (SPC).

The move is being spearheaded by the SPC, SREP and United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

Dawson, addressing the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) meeting in Nadi Thursday said the amalgamation makes efficient use of capacity and resources of island countries.

Integration is already happening at national level through Joint National Action Plans and institutional arrangements.

“There has also been widespread support for integration expressed at regional and international level, said Dawson, who is SPC’s climate change advisor.

“There are already integrated approaches to planning at the national level through joint national action plans for CC and DRM in Tonga, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Niue, Vanuatu, Palau and Solomon Islands.

In addition, there is already integrated governance in Vanuatu, where the country has set up its National Advisory Board for CC and DRM.

Dawson said the proposal will also raise the profile of CC and DRM as cross-cutting issues and lead to more effective mainstreaming of these issues into national and sectoral plans.

Christina Casella of SPC/SOPAC said the integration is based on three principles of leadership, ownership and inclusion.

“The Pacific is the first region in the world to develop an integrated CC/DRM regional framework. It is led by a steering committee supported by a technical working group, comprising of SPC, SPREP and UNISDR.

If endorsed by all Pacific Island Countries and Territories in Nadi next week, the Joint Roadmap wall go back to all the governing bodies of SPREP and SPC between July and September this year before Pacific Forum Leaders endorse the changes in 2015.


More help at regional meetings

By Ben Kedoga, NBC Radio, PNG

5 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Regional meetings can provide a lot of information and resources on climate change and to network and meet important partners at the regional and international level.

One such program that provides integrated system of climate change services within the region is the Pacific Climate Information System, PaCIS.

The Director of Pacific Regional Climate Change Services, with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US NOAA, John Marra explains, “PaCIS is composed of representatives of regional, national and local institutions and programs in the Pacific, as well as selected individuals from other regions, with experience and expertise in climate observations, science, assessment, education, outreach, users, and services”.

PaCIS was created by the US NOAA through its Pacific Regional Climate Change Services with support from US Aid.

There are approximately 50 members that make up the Steering Committee with broad representation from agencies, institutions, and organizations in the Pacific Island Countries, PICs.

Some of the products and services provided by PaCIS, through several of its programs include among others, the Pacific storm climatology products.

“This product provides access to an integrated suite that outlines patterns and trends of storm frequency and intensity within the Pacific Region”, Marra said.

This is one product that might attract interest from Pacific Island Countries.

However, Marra, when contacted by the SPREP media team, indicated that there is little knowledge of their existence, and the products and programs they have in place.

“I do not believe that it is well known. The 'catalogs' are also something that might be of interest,” he said.

The ‘catalogs’ Marra referred to, is the, Pacific Islands Climate Scenarios, Outlooks, and Climatology Catalogs, where users can search, by region and find a list of relevant products along with a brief summary and a direct link to each.

“Catalogs will be developed for scenarios and climatologies in 2013,” he added.


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