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Pacific Climate Change Roundtable opens in Samoa

Over 200 delegates have come together for the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Samoa this week to share lessons learnt from implementing the Pacific Islands Framework Action on Climate Change over the past 10 years.

The PIFACC, as it is known is the regional climate change policy endorsed by Pacific Leaders in 2005. The vision of the PIFACC is “Pacific island people, their livelihoods and the environment are resilient to the risks and impacts of climate change” and as it comes to an end this year the PCCR has been an opportunity to share ‘lessons learnt’ as well as discussing the ‘new and unique.’

The Pacific islands will transition to a new integrated strategy in the Pacific islands that brings climate change and disaster risk management together – the Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development in the Pacific. Also known as the SRDP this will be before the Pacific Leaders Forum in Papua New Guinea in September for regional endorsement.

“The Sendai World Disaster Conference earlier this year acknowledged this Strategy as a world first for integrating climate change and disaster risk reduction. Integrated responses are essential if we are to effectively address the challenges of climate change and natural disasters and who knows these challenges better than the countries and territories of our region,” said Mr. David Sheppard during the opening ceremony.

“Cyclone Pam and Typhoon Maysak, which respectively battered Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia as well as other countries, remind us again of the power of nature and the vulnerability of Pacific nations to natural disasters and climate change. The next few days allow us to chart a course for the future and to build new partnerships to better address climate change and natural disasters in our region.”

Over the period of three days the delegates will also focus on the voyage ahead toward the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris at the end of this year, it is here that a new global climate change agreement is to be agreed upon. Another focus of this years’ PCCR is climate finance as well as a strong emphasis on partnerships.

The Roundtable brings key stakeholders together to discuss climate change issues and priorities, to strengthen regional coordination, and to better assist Pacific countries in addressing climate change.

“We see the PCCR as the premier forum for discussion on climate change issues in the Pacific involving all partners and stakeholders as partners, this is essential for developing ownership and ensuring long term and lasting outcomes from this roundtable,” said Mr. Sheppard

“This year’s PCCR has been a real team effort between CROP agencies, countries and key stakeholders. The Roundtable has been guided by a broad based steering committee which has developed the programme we have in front of us today and the process we will follow. We have tried to learn lessons from previous Roundtables and ensure involvement from all key stakeholders.”

The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable is held from 12 – 14 May in Apia, Samoa. The event has been held since 2008 on a biannual basis coordinated by SPREP in partnership with others and is coordinated by SPREP with the guidance from a steering committee.

The PCCR has been made possible with support from the Government of Switzerland, Government of Samoa, Government of Australia, European Union, GIZ, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC).

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