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Climate change a hot item for the Pacific islands

Climate change a hot item for the Pacific islands region this May

May is a momentous moment for climate change in the Pacific with key milestone events happening in our region.

A high level dialogue on climate change and biodiversity for Pacific leaders took place with the Hon Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France on 4 May. This was held during the three day Presidential visit of H.E Emmanuel Macron and his delegation to New Caledonia.

Also to take place in May is the very first Pacific Resilience Partnership Taskforce meeting as the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific unfolds, the Bonn Climate Change Conference is underway consisting of a range of different meetings under the UN Framework for the Convention on Climate Change, and on 11 May construction of the Pacific Climate Change Centre will begin construction with a ground breaking ceremony.

The Paris Agreement was described as “An equitable and irreversible agreement demonstrating solidarity,” by Hon. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Foreign Affairs, France during the high level dialogue on climate change and biodiversity. He also said that the French development agency (AFD) is to become a fully-fledged development bank which will be active in the Pacific region and completely aligned with the Paris Agreement.

Director General of SPREP, Mr Kosi Latu, participated in the high level dialogue and also met with President Macron during his visit to New Caledonia.

“This is a special year for SPREP and our Members as we celebrate our 25 year anniversary and begin construction of the Pacific Climate Change Centre; we were able to commemorate our partnership with France as a strong supporting Member and partner,” said Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP.

“SPREP was founded on the principles of conservation for a sustainable environment for the Pacific, and as the years have passed, so have our environmental challenges as the urgency for climate action has grown. It was an honour to be able to talk with President Macron and Minister Le Drian, knowing our SPREP Island Members and France fully understands the important role of the Paris Agreement.”

France is one of the five metropolitan members of SPREP, and has supported SPREP in its capacity to support its Pacific Members on climate change adaptation issues and biodiversity conservation.

This high level dialogue between the French delegation and the leaders of the Pacific has occurred at a crucial time for the Pacific region as we prepare for the beginning of a new era in climate change adaptation and capacity development.

This week, SPREP will host the ground breaking ceremony to commence construction of the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC), in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Government of Samoa. It will also be the launch of the 25 year anniversary celebrations of SPREP, for which a calendar of events are to follow.

The Centre will be the regional hub for enhanced and inclusive collaboration and coordination to support climate resilient development and responses to climate change in the region. Development of the Centre is guided by a steering committee consisting of a wide range of key stakeholders including Member countries, partners, donors and agencies of the Council of the Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP). The Centre will host climate change experts, researchers and officials for applied research, training and policy initiatives.

“While this is based at the SPREP headquarters, the Pacific Climate Change Centre will belong to our Pacific island region as a whole. It was during the high level dialogue on biodiversity and climate change that we heard from our island Members the importance of urgent action to address climate change impacts. We hope that this PCCC will be one catalyst to bring that about, and for the construction to happen during our 25 years of being, that’s an additional bonus to add to our Pacific achievements,” said Mr Latu.

SPREP was established as an independent organisation based in Samoa through the signing of the SPREP Agreement in June, 1993.

Construction of the Centre is funded by the Government of Japan, through grant aid to the Government of Samoa. It will be constructed according to green guidelines which includes 50% of the energy to be driven by solar panels with the hope that it will be powered 100% by renewable energy in the future.

The ground breaking ceremony of the Pacific Climate Change Centre and launch of the SPREP 25 year anniversary will take place on Friday 11 May, 2018.

ENDS…

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