By Mona Ainu’u – Broadcasting Corporation of Niue
Closing bulletin, June 2011, Apia, Samoa - Global and regional climate change meetings targeting small islands and attended by Pacific Islands countries and territories contribute to strengthening the capacity of Pacific Island countries says Dr Netatua Pelesikoti, Manager of the Pacific Futures Program at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
Things that happen at the international and regional level have an impact at the national level, and vice versa. Climate change is a global issue and its impacts are felt in all development sectors of the Pacific.
“The Pacific Islands participation in the United Nations Framework for the Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) is very important; Pacific Island countries are able to raise national climate change issues and ensure it is considered in the global agenda,” said Dr Pelesikoti.
“What is important are the financial mechanisms established as a result of the UNFCCC COPs that enable Pacific Island countries to implement enabling activities, such as adaptation and mitigation programmes.”
Dr Pelesikoti however recommends that the region responds to climate change risks through a holistic and integrated approach. Pacific island countries and territories are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in all areas including the socio-economic, ecological and governance factors. But climate change adaptation should consider these vulnerabilities alongside other national development policies and programmes at all levels.
Under the new SPREP strategic plan 2011 – 2015 (include link please) based on the priorities of member countries, it is aimed that all SPREP members will have strengthened capacity to respond to climate change through policy improvement, implementation of practical adaptation measures and enhancing ecosystem resilience to the impacts of climate change.
The Climate Change division of SPREP is supporting Pacific island countries and territories in these areas through regional projects such as the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) and Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy (PIGGAREP) an initiative to remove barriers to low carbon development. Both of these particular programmes are funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme and SPREP.
“We all know the ecological systems and economic systems are all closely linked and both underpin social development among others, you have to look at the linkages within these systems including climate data to inform the most appropriate adaptation response, one would prioritise”.
Dr Pelesikoti presented at the Lessons for Future Action climate change conference in Samoa during the session on National Planning and Policy Frameworks. The conference was held from 23 to 25 May, bringing together over 140 participants from the Pacific, Indian and Caribbean Oceans.