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Fijians elected to represent island states in global climate change bodies

Fiji has stepped up to represent the Small Island Developing States after nomination and election to three specialised bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Amena Yauvoli, Luke Daunivalu and Samuela Lagataki were supported by the Alliance of Small Island States to the bodies.

In a show of support and endorsement for his leadership this year as Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI), Amena Yauvoli, Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, was re-elected as Chair for another year.

The SBI is one of two permanent subsidiary bodies to the Convention established by the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the Conference of the Parties serving as Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP). It supports the work of the COP and the CMP through the assessment and review of the effective implementation of the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol. The SBI also advises the COP on budgetary and administrative matters.

2015 represents a major milestone for the international community with a new climate agreement to be adopted at the climate talks in the French capital of Paris (COP21) from 30 November to 11 December. While there is near-universal agreement that adaptation is an important part of the deal, Parties are currently assessing how the 2015 agreement can support further adaptation action.

“It is a very crucial year ahead and I am humbled by the fact that AOSIS seen the work that has been done in the last 12 months that has culminated into this COP and they have unanimously agreed for me to soldier this responsibility for us and for the partners to the convention,” said Mr. Yavouli.

Fiji’s Conservator of Forests, Samuela Lagataki was also elected as the Alternate member of the Adaptation Fund Board. He replaces the late Ambassador Peceli Vocea as Fiji’s and SIDS representative on the Board and will serve for a two year term. Considered an important mechanism for catalysing funding support on adaptation, the Adaptation Fund was established in 2001 to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

“I am humbled at my appointment and am happy to take up this important responsibility. I see the role of the Fund as critical to ensuring that appropriate development and climate adaptation reaches the most vulnerable communities in island states,” Lagataki said.
Over the past four years, the Fund has dedicated more than $265 million to increase climate resilience in 44 countries around the world.

The 43 member States of SIDS also showed their confidence in Luke Daunivalu, Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs, as their representative on the Adaptation Committee for another two-year term. Daunivalu was one of the first members to be nominated to the Committee after it was launched in 2011 by the global climate body to address the critical issues of adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change.

The Committee’s main role is to promote the implementation of enhanced action on adaptation in a coherent manner under the Convention.

Given the year ahead, the role of Fiji on these boards will be a busy one. As described by Mr. Yavouli who spent this year as Chair of the SBI, the commitment required for this role is very much similar to the time and commitment required in his role as Permanent Secretary of Fiji Foreign Affairs. It is also a demanding role given the need to constantly be up to date and fully understand the wide range of technical negotiation issues. However it’s a role that Yavouli says that Pacific islanders can excel in.

“Anyone can do this job, it just takes dedication and a level of ambition as you need to be there all the time, high level commitment is also important,” said Yavouli.
“Now they know that we from the Pacific can do this job, and I am humbled that I am doing this not only for Fiji but also for the Pacific islands and all SIDS.”

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