Caption: Pacific delegates at the Pacific preparatory meeting in Lima, Peru – Mr. Sione Fulivai of Tonga addressing the room.Photo:SUPPLIED.
27 November 2014, Lima, Peru – Strengthening their call to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the Pacific islands came together to strategise their united approach before the start of the climate change summit in Lima, Peru next week.
Coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the High Level Support Mechanism on Climate Change (HLSM).
The HLSM was established to provide support to Ministers and high-level officials from Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries in the climate change negotiations and related processes. It is funded under the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and the initiative is held in collaboration with Climate Analytics and Charles and Associates.
The one day event allows the Pacific island delegates to coordinate together before meeting with other island states and then all the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Bringing together over 30 delegates from across the Pacific islands with technical experts and resource people, the day began with an update of the negotiation process to date followed by sections on key issues for the region and discussions to help forge a way ahead.
“We’ve addressed some key agenda items for the Pacific islands, bringing those delegates up to date on the current status of negotiations, provided some key points for their consideration on these issues and the latest science and technical information to assist their decision making,” said Mr. Espen Ronneberg, SPREP’s Climate Change Adviser.
“This is a good opportunity to strategise for Lima as well as the monumental climate change summit next year in Paris at which a new climate change agreement is to be formalised. This has been an ongoing long road of negotiations, but that can also change direction so quickly, so this session helps the Pacific island delegations be well equipped for the weeks ahead.”
The one day meeting covered issues such as the new legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions being negotiated for approval by December 2015 known as the ADP; Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (iNDCs) which is a new platform on the table to highlight what parties are doing to mitigate climate change; climate finance and what is to be decided in Lima; raising the global mitigation ambition before 2020; amongst other critical issues for the Pacific.
Working with Climate Analytics has also helped the Pacific island delegates forge stronger relations with the science and technical experts who can provide support and information during the two weeks of negotiations.
“I really welcomed this opportunity for me to be updated on where some of the issues are, there are a lot of new nuances and dynamics that have been brought to the negotiations, I really benefitted from this personally and am sure that all of us that participated in this felt the same way,” said Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Samoa’s Permanent to the United Nations. Samoa was also the host of the Third International Conference on Small Islands Developing States this year the outcome of which was the Samoa Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway document.
“The Samoa Pathway is the sum total of asks from the Small Islands Developing States, I think it’s fair to say that climate change naturally is identified as a priority for SIDS. There is a very intimate link between the Samoa Pathway and these climate change negotiations and bringing people here together under the one roof to prepare for the coming weeks is very important. ”
The significant role of the one day preparatory meeting was also stressed by a delegate from Palau, who recommended this be expanded to longer than just a day.
“This Preparatory Meeting is by far, one of the best and most challenging. It allowed delegates to informally ask questions, increase their capacity on issues and how it relates to their country positions. More Pacific delegates should place a high priority in participating in these Pacific Preparatory Meetings,” said Mr. Joe Aitaro of Palau.
“It would be great if the preparatory meetings could be held for at least three to four days to allow for a more in depth review of the elements with sufficient time to craft a stronger Pacific positions in these negotiations, especially for 2015.”
The one day Pacific preparatory meeting was attended by delegates from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Palau. It was held on 26 November at the Crown Plaza the day before the two day preparatory meeting of the Alliance of Small Islands States, the main bloc under which the Pacific islands negotiates.