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Climate Change Resilience

14 September 2023, Port Vila – Pacific delegations are always on the backfoot when attending negotiations of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), despite being the region that has been identified as being on the frontlines of the deadly impacts of climate change. 

Resource constraints – both financial and human – mean that Pacific delegations to the COP will be outnumbered by a ratio of 1:7 by developed countries who have the resources and means to send more than 200 participants and negotiators. 

This presents the need for the Pacific to come together and speak in a strong “One Pacific Voice” in order to advance the Pacific priorities on climate change. One country cannot do it alone, but together, the Pacific can be stronger. 

Part of the work to build a strong “One Pacific Voice” includes ensuring that Pacific negotiators undergo training on the UNFCCC process, Pacific priorities, and outcomes of previous COPS, in order to better prepare for the upcoming COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

This was the objective behind a training held on Thursday in Port Vila for the National Advisory Bureau on Climate Change, coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) through the Climate Change Resilience programme, the Vanuatu Klaemet Infomesen blong Redy, Adapt, mo Protekt (Van-KIRAP) Project, and the Communications and Outreach unit. 

Ms Esline Garaebiti, Director General of the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change, acknowledged the assistance of the Secretariat in helping the Vanuatu delegation to COP, especially those who will be directly involved in the negotiations, by carrying out the negotiations training. 

“The last negotiations training we’ve had was more than five years ago. Since then, we’ve had a lot of changes within our ministry, with new staff joining and other staff leaving, and so this is a much needed training,” she said. 

“Every year we come together in preparation for COP by holding a refresher training to upskill our negotiators and delegation. This provides us with a good opportunity to strategise on what our priorities are going into the COP, to know what our positions are, and what will be best for Vanuatu and the Pacific as a whole.

“We’re very fortunate to have the SPREP team conduct this training for our negotiators, as it is the first training we’ve had for more than five years. In that time, there have been a lot of changes within the Ministry of Climate Change – with old staff leaving the Ministry and new staff joining – so this training for negotiators comes at an opportune time. 

Mr Sione Fulivai, SPREP’s Framework for Resilient Development Programme Coordinator, walked the participants through an overview of the UNFCCC and a recap of the key Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) issues that came out of Sharm el-Sheikh at COP27, as well as an overview of the PSIDS positions for the upcoming COP28. 

The participants also virtually joined the Deep Dive Session on Loss and Damage hosted by Climate Analytics and SPREP.

SPREP’s Communications and Outreach Adviser, Ms Nanette Woonton stated that they were pleased to be offering this training and capacity building opportunity for Vanuatu as part of the Secretariat’s support to its Members leading up to, and at the COP28. 

For more information, please contact Ms Nanette Woonton at [email protected]