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Kiribati shares a powerful message at Cacun

Five year adaptation work programme did not fully consider Kiribati

“I would urge that if there is a next phase of the Nairobi Work Programme, the views of the most vulnerable group, SIDS and LDCs are included, representation of the different groups and geophysical aspects are given due consideration, so there is a full suite of options for all countries.” -

The Director of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development for Kiribati, Ms. Tererei AbeteReema


30 November Cancun Mexico - Kiribati shared a powerful message at the Climate Change talks in Cancun, reminding the world that when it comes to climate change adaptation, a one size fits all solution will not work.

The intervention was made on the Nairobi Work Programme (2005 – 2010) which was designed to help countries improve their understanding and assessment of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.

The five year programme also had the goal to help with making informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures to respond to climate change. It was designed to help all parties, in particular the developing countries including the least developed countries (LDC’s) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

However Kiribati did not agree that the Nairobi Work Programme was well designed and covered all countries.

The Pacific island nation did agree with Argentina in saying the outreach of this was limited and there was a great gap between the engagement of the international community and the lack of awareness of the Nairobi Work Programme amongst the national and sub-national stakeholders.

“We see the need to strengthen existing dissemination channels and communication mechanisms at regional and national levels particularly in LDCs and SIDS. In Kiribati, internet is quite a luxury for web-based medium of communication and access to information. We always have problems with browsing a website or download information for more than 3 minutes.”

The Director of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development for Kiribati, Ms. Tererei AbeteReema also pointed out that while the Nairobi Work Programme empowered countries to make informed decisions for some countries, without funding to trial or test the methodologies and tools Kiribati could not assess their effectiveness or be assured that they were not mal-adaptation options.

As for other options and solutions for adaptation provided by the Nairobi Work Programme, in the case of Kiribati, these were inadequate.

“Kiribati is very interested in any adaptation programme due to its extreme vulnerability to climate change impacts, compounded more by our least capacity and limited means to, respond appropriately.

“For instance, as a coastal nation, we regard the generic adaptation options for the coastal zones with disappointment as it has not identified more options.

“The three options are: retreating, accommodating and protecting.

“Kiribati is unable to retreat because either ways, we will be floating in the sea surrounding us. Relocating is impossible since we do not have higher grounds and in terms of protection, we do not have the means. The only option left for us is accommodation, a middle ground in making changes to cope with climate change impacts and hence, in our view the Nairobi Work Programme advice does not go far enough.”

Kiribati ended with words that will hopefully remain with all during the course of the next two weeks of negotiations, the message that everyone needs to be considered and fully represented when it comes to combating climate change, including the Small Islands Developing States and Least Developed Countries.

“In closing, I would urge that if there is a next phase of the Nairobi Work Programme, the views of the most vulnerable group, SIDS and LDCs are included, representation of the different groups and geophysical aspects are given due consideration, so there is a full suite of options for all countries.”

ENDS

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