Closing remarks at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable by Mr David Sheppard, the Director of SPREP
It gives me great pleasure to make some closing remarks to this Roundtable.
Honorable premier, This roundtable has reinforced the magnitude of the challenge of climate change for Pacific island countries and territories, and the need for urgent and practical responses to these challenges at the country level.
You have emphasised the scale of the problem is vast and requires a cross sectoral and coordinated response – at national, regional and international levels.
SPREP has taken a different approach with this third Roundtable. Instead of an agenda developed by SPREP alone we have reached out to other agencies, governments and NGOs, through the establishment of a broad based Steering Committee.
This underlines that the PCCR is an equal partnership meeting.
I would like to commend the Steering Committee for developing such an interesting and productive schedule. My first reaction on seeing the final agenda was that we will need to stay another week.
Given the great beauty of Niue and the friendliness of its people, I would have been very happy with this option and I may still arrange to miss my flight tomorrow.
It is a great credit to all of you – presenters, working group leaders, participants – that we have been able to get through this agenda and so much work within the 4 days.
When we look back at the last roundtable we can see that the focus has shifted from process to substance.
Congratulations to you all.
I am pleased to see the Steering Committee will continue to play a role after this roundtable, to ensure effective coordination and collaboration. We look forward to on-going guidance and leadership from this Steering Committee.
We have aimed for this Roundtable to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
Ambassador Fetturi reminded us that "No-one has a monopoly on good ideas". Everyone has been able to participate here as equals – this Roundtable has provided a neutral forum for the exchange of ideas and experience.
Our discussion has been very rich on content and the Working Groups have played a key role.
We have appreciated the clear and practical recommendations from each Working Group. It has been positive that leadership of each group has been spread around the different agencies and countries of our region. I have appreciated that recommendations from each group relate to and link with existing programmes of different organisations.
This maximizes the chances of action rather than rhetoric flowing from this roundtable.
The recommendations also link with and support existing processes in this region. For example, the Climate Resources Working Group will provide input to and support the existing processes being led by FEMM – Pacific Finance and Economic Ministers.
They will also provide advice and support for the New York based Pacific Ambassadors, who work so hard on our behalf.
I will bring forward recommendations of this Roundtable to the CROP CEOs Task Force on Climate Change which I am honored to co-chair with the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
I don't intend to summarize all of the issues covered this week but I would like to applaud efforts by Pacific Countries to adapt to climate change.
We heard from countries that PACC – the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change programme – is working.
PACC provides a practical framework for national level priority setting and action, and for mainstreaming climate change.
We have heard from many countries of efforts to link disaster risk management with climate change adaptation and we applaud Tonga and other countries for developing fully integrated plans in these areas.
We have urged donors to accelerate efforts to support Pacific countries in climate change and to meet existing commitments.
While there has been criticism in the past about issues such as heavy procedural requirements associated with different funding instruments, and donor conditionality in some cases, it is important to place on record the strong appreciation from this region for the support provided by donors and partners – from existing donors and supporters such as Australia, New Zealand, UNDP, and Germany, but also from donors that are expanding this support for climate change efforts in this region such as the European Union, the ADB and the World Bank.
I would also like to thank the Government of Switzerland which has largely funded this roundtable.
Apologies to any donors I may not have mentioned.
On behalf of participants, I would like to thank all donors and partners for their support to this region. It is really appreciated and plays a critical role in keeping the ship, or Pacific Vaka, afloat.
In my view, this has been a very successful and productive meeting. We have endorsed a clear Terms of Reference for the Roundtable, while noting this is a living document which can and will be adapted, in line with changing circumstances.
We have put in place effective leadership and programmes for each Working Group.
There is a clear path forward for addressing key challenges for our region, such as ensuring the Pacific voice is heard, and heard loudly, at the Durban Climate conference later this year.
I am pleased to announce that SPREP will allocate a staff member to support on-going activities of Roundtable. We will continue to work in line with the principles of partnership and ownership by the countries and organisations of this region.
This is not SPREP's roundtable, it is your roundtable.
As noted on Monday, I believe this roundtable represents the "cream of the cream" in relation to climate change expertise in the Pacific region.
Thank you all for your productive input and engagement throughout the week and for being so open in sharing your expertise and experience.
You have made this roundtable a great success.
I would like to thank SPREP staff who have worked very hard prior to, and during, this week. I am very fortunate and honored to be leading such a dedicated and excellent team of professionals.
Thanks are due to the local organizing committee, who have ensured all local arrangements have proceeded like clock-work. Tasi – it has been a pleasure to work with you and your team. Thank you.
I would like to thank the Government and people of Niue for their most generous support in hosting this important roundtable.
Honorable Premier, we have all really appreciated the warmth of your welcome from you and the people of Niue. From the smiles of the ladies who have served us such great meals, to the energy, enthusiasm and great dancing of the school children at our opening ceremony, you have really made us feel welcome and at home.
We have appreciated the opportunity to learn from your practical experience in transforming Niue into a model for the Pacific, and the world, in transforming your country to a clean and green economy. Congratulations on all you have achieved and best wishes for all your future efforts.
Honourable Premier, thank you very much, from all of us.
In closing I would like to invite you all to a final cocktail party to be hosted by SPREP tonight, to thank you all again for your great contributions this week, and to wish you all a safe journey back to your home countries.
Thank you, Faafetai Lava