HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Cook Islands Government in Bangkok preparing for the 2012 climate change conference
The Cook Islands along with 194 countries have congregated in Bangkok at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to discuss decisions that will be presented at the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference held in Doha, Qatar from the 26 November to 07 December, 2012.
“The meeting opened Thursday 30 August, 2012 and attending this meeting are Mii Matamaki from the National Environment Services (NES), Nga Puna from Central Policy and Planning at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), and the adviser to the Cook Islands, Linda Siegele”, said Ana Tiraa, the Director of Climate Change Cook Islands at the OPM .
At the last UNFCCC conference, in Durban, South Africa, nations set specific objectives for their 2012 meeting in Doha, Qatar. These include essential work to trigger a new phase of greater climate action and to take the next concrete steps to fill existing gaps in the international policy response to climate change.
“Governments have promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions and help the poor and vulnerable adapt to climate change. They know they must implement these promises fully, raise their efforts before 2020 and redouble those efforts again after 2020,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“Soon, in Doha, they must show implementation and set the pace towards adopting a new, universal climate agreement by 2015. The next three years are set to drive the next two decades of the international response to climate change,” she said.
Ms Matamaki will be following the discussions on climate change financing as this is a key priority for the Cook Islands.
Climate change financing are contributions provided by developed countries, for e.g. New Zealand, European Union, and Australia just to name a few, to developing countries such as the Cook Islands, Fiji, and Samoa.
And under this arrangement the Cook Islands will be stressing the importance of using existing national systems in the implementation of programmes, in the utilisation of funds.
Climate Change financing is to assist developing countries cope, reduce, and where possible reduce the impacts of climate change to a nation and their communities’ livelihood.
The operation of finance is entrusted to one or more existing international entities. One of the financial mechanisms that is responsible with part of the international funds, is the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) which is subject to review every four years.
The GEF is accountable to the countries that are members of the UNFCCC. The countries decide on climate change policies, programme priorities and eligibility criteria for funding, based on advice from a group within the UNFCCC called the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).
At present there are four special funds: the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), the Least Developed Countries Fund (LCDF), both of which are managed by the GEF, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and the Adaptation Fund (AF).
Making his first appearance in the climate change negotiations is Mr Nga Puna who will be partnered with Linda Siegele as Puna’s mentor, Ms Siegele has vast experience within the process and is currently following discussions on adaptation.
Adaptation plays a vital role in these discussions for small island developing states (SIDS), for 7 years the Cook Islands lead the negotiating group of SIDS in the adaptation negotiations.
Adapting to the dangerous effects of climate change is essential in order to reduce the impacts of climate change, which are occurring now, and to increase the resilience to future impacts.
The range of issues being addressed by countries include the 2010 Cancun Adaptation Framework(unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/cop16/eng/07a01.pdf#page4) a by-product of the 2007 Bali Action Plan (http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2007/cop13/eng/06a01.pdf#page=3), whereby countries affirm that adaptation be given the same level of priority as mitigation.
Furthermore issues related to implementing, which includes national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs), and support through finance, technology, and capacity building is discussed under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).
Mrs Tiraa says “overall maintaining a presence and dialogue at these negotiations are important for the Cook Islands. It allows funding opportunities for national projects like the “Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) pilot site at the Avarua harbour, in Mangaia” funded under the SCCF through GEF and the Australian Government overseas aid programme (AUSAID) at approximately $900,000 USD, the “Porokaramu akamatutu’anga o te iti tangata i te tautau manakore’ia no te taui’anga reva; Strengthen the Resilience of our Island and our Communities” a 5 year project for the Pa Enua which just completed the inception stage earlier this year, to adapt and increase resilience to climate change”, this project is funded under the Adaptation Fund with an overall cost of approximately $5 million USD.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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