17 March, Alofi, Niue - The voice of the Civil Society is being raised loud and clear at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Alofi, Niue this week.
Ensuring the PCCR is an 'all inclusive' gathering, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) funded several NGO representatives to be a part of the Pacific meeting on climate change. They are also joined by other NGO's who are present at the PCCR.
"I think that it is a good reflection on the efforts that we made to try and bring civil society representatives here to Niue," said Espen Ronneberg the SPREP Climate Change Adviser.
"With the strong representation of the NGO's present, I think that can only improve the work of the Roundtable, and we need to try and keep up this momentum."
The Pacific Climate Action Network was given a separate speaking slot on the PCCR agenda, presenting during the session that focused on preparations for the next climate change conference of the parties in Durban this year.
"We need to keep the cooperation between the NGO's and the governments of the Pacific," said Rev. Tafue Lusama the Chairman of the Board for the Pacific Climate Action Network.
"We recognise the need to be together as one in raising our climate change as we can't afford to have different voices."
CAN Pacific is a network of member organisations from all over the Pacific committed to combating negative impacts of climate change. It began with two organisations, the Tuvalu CAN and the Cook Islands CAN and has now grown to seven organisations including Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Niue and New Zealand.
The vision of CAN Pacific is to – 'strive actively towards achieving the protection of the Pacific and global climate in a manner which promotes equity and social justice between peoples, sustainable development of all communities, and protection of the Pacific environment.'
The key priorities of CAN Pacific are to continue working with the Pacific governments, lobby the issue of gender and climate change to be fully recognised in the Pacific region and within the process of the United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and thirdly to encourage aid funds that come into the Pacific be for projects 'on the ground' that benefit local communities and are not spent on consultants and further planning.
"I find this inclusive approach that got us here very interesting and encouraging, it shows there is an open window for us to work closely with regional bodies and our national governments and we'd love for this to continue. Discussions in the meeting are really interesting and we'll try our best to do our NGO part."