14 March 2011, Alofi, Niue - The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) is officially underway in Alofi, Niue with the theme "Mobilising Climate Change Resources for the Pacific".
With the concern of Pacific countries being the most vulnerable on earth to the impacts of climate change, over 100 delegates from all over the world are gathering at the four day conference to address the urgent need to accelerate climate change finance through welcoming the increase involvement of donors and partners.
At today's' opening ceremony, a minute of silence was held in respect and memory of those from Christchurch, New Zealand and Japan who have undergone huge tragedies.
"The tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, following so closely after the Christchurch earthquake remind us again of the power of nature and the vulnerability of Pacific nations to climate change and to natural disasters.
The impacts of cyclone Heta in this country (Niue) in 2004 further underline this vulnerability," said the Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
"The issue of climate finance has been repeatedly emphasised by our leaders, and this is reflected in the theme for this roundtable.
"We all recognize that there must be a quantum leap in funding for climate change in the countries of our region, in particular for focused adaptation and mitigation programmes. We greatly appreciate commitments made under the Copenhagen Accord to provide 100 billion US dollars per annum by 2020 to support climate change efforts by developing countries," he added.
"Climate finance must support systems and structures which exist at national and regional levels. It is vital that donor efforts be coordinated and sharply addresses the priorities developed by Pacific countries."
Premier of Niue, Hon. Toke Talagi hopes that one of the outcome of the PCCR are set plans for adaptation measures and mitigating infrastructure to help the Pacific survive the current trends until countries are able to at least stabilise their climate situation and hopefully reverse it; as it is already clear and recognised that these are generational decisions and new phenomena.
"Our current work of preparing the budgets to help implement the five-year National Strategic Plan will help us with our climate change objectives priorities and funding options.
"For the funding institutions and donor countries we urge you not just to pledge the funds but to ensure they are released in a timely manner so that we can activate our plans and programs."
The Roundtable is seen as the premier forum for discussion on climate change issues in the Pacific involving all agencies and stakeholders as partners.
The meeting is currently underway and is from the 14th to the 18th of March.
Related link: Climate Pasifika blog