Supporting Palauan action on climate change policy

Caption:Damage caused from Typhoon Haiyan in Kayangel, Palau (November, 2013).Photo:SUPPLIED.

A meeting on?Palau?s Climate Change Policy Framework?(PCCPF) development process was held yesterday (26 November) with stakeholders from ten key sectors in attendance.? The President of Palau, His Excellency Tommy Remengesau Jr. in his keynote address said, ?Climate change is a real life threat to us now and we, the small island states, are in the front line.?

He went on to say that Palau?s work in?marine conservation and protected areas is building the country?s resilience to climate change and addressing food security.

Yesterday’s meeting was convened by the Office of Environmental Response and Coordination (OERC). The PCCPF development process is supported by theproject funded by the European Union (EU) ? the?Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s?Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States project (SPC-GCCA: PSIS ) ? and the programme implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) ? Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region (CCPIR).

The President stated in a recent United Nations meeting, ?Small island developing states in the Pacific recognise that action must begin in their backyard, and Palau is doing just that.?

The PCCPF will address climate change adaptation; management of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon sinks; and disaster risk management. It involves government, the private sector, civil society, and Palauan communities and individuals.

Work on the PCCPF development process began in 2012, with the support of the EU and GIZ.? This included the preparation of a community engagement strategy and a gaps and needs analysis in 2013.

The final part of the process will involve extensive consultations with all societal sectors to build a coordinated national policy framework, which will include prioritised actions that can be taken to build the resilience of Palau to climate change.

The meeting was requested by the Ad Hoc Climate Change Committee, formed under the National Environment Protection Council. This meeting was an opportunity? for participants from across Palau to have a clear mandate to contribute to and guide the formation of a climate change and disaster management policy and priority investment action plan for the next five years.

The ten key sectors, which had their working groups formalised at the meeting, were: biodiversity, conservation and natural resources (water, soil, gas, etc.); agriculture and fisheries (food security); utilities (telecommunications, energy, water, solid?waste and sewage); critical infrastructure (roads, ports, airports, schools, etc.); tourism; finance (including insurance and banking); commerce and economic development; health, society and culture; education; and governance.

Beyond yesterday?s meeting, the sector working groups will assist in the preparation of risk and capacity assessments, and 20-year vision statements, with facilitation provided by consultants working with OERC. A national workshop will be held in March 2015 to further define priority policy directives required to address national risks and capacity building needs, and to achieve low carbon development.

Charlene Mersai, National Environment Planner heading OERC said, ?In order to access funding, we need first to know and articulate what our priorities are, and this policy framework development process is an opportunity to get this information direct from all sectors.?

The Palauan sector assessment and policy development effort is supported by several development partners and programmes, in particular the EU through the SPC-GCCA: PSIS and the SPC project ?Building Safety and Resilience in Pacific Island Countries; GIZ through the CCCPIR programme; the United States Agency for International Development; and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

The GCCA: PSIS project is a EUR 11.4 million project funded by the EU, implemented regionally by SPC and nationally by each of the nine participating governments.

For more information,?contact Pasha?Carruthers, Climate Change Adviser, GCCA: PSIS, SPC, FSM (Tel: +691 320 7523,?email:?pashac@spc.int) or?Zhiyad Khan, Project Communications Assistant, GCCA: PSIS, SPC, Suva, Fiji, (Tel:?+679 337 9349; email:?ZhiyadK@spc.int) or visit the SPC website:?www.spc.int.

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