Submitted by leannem on Wed, 12/11/2019 - 05:42
Choi Yeeting
December 11, 2019 by leannem
Climate Change Resilience

In this series, we will be introducing you to some of our Pacific island negotiators and delegates, who are the people representing our islands at the Climate Change negotiations now underway. 

The Twenty-fifth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25) is hosted in Madrid, Spain from 2 – 13 December, 2019.

Pacific negotiators and delegates have been working in the rooms amplifying our Pacific voice and our Pacific asks. We hope you enjoy this series getting to know more of our Pacific Island negotiators and delegates.

Name: Choi Yeeting
Country: Kiribati

Q: Tell us a little bit about the work you do and how you came to be a representative for your country at COP25? 
A: I am the Senior Policy Advisor and National Climate Change Adviser in Kiribati. In Kiribati it’s very small so you kind of have to do everything. We talk a lot of limited resources and people that we have to manage a lot of the things, and a classic example is what I’m doing. You do all the technical work, you do the assessments, then the assessment policy developments and inform policy decisions and developments. Then you have to talk to the regional landscape as well and inform how the national context works with the regional assistance we’re getting. Then it brings you here to the international level as well to talk about the sub-national, national and regional activities you’re doing and bringing it to the international level so they can get a grasp of what’s going on. For me, it gives me a lot of, for lack of a better word, ammunition to come with, knowing the different levels of engagement that I have in the line of work that I do, to come to this space and talk to key issues that we face. This is a very slow process and I’d rather be at home doing the work on the ground and getting things done and that’s something this process doesn’t really understand. When we talk about actions, the Pacific itself is already doing these actions and we’re doing actions beyond our means and the region is also supporting us in this regard. So it’s not just a plea for money when we come here, it’s actually to go above and beyond what we’re already doing. 

Q: What issue have you been following at COP25 and what’s the importance of this issue to the Pacific? 
A: In Climate Change, our priority is Adaptation. I’ve been following Adaptation and Loss and Damage. Adaptation is a priority to us because everything that’s in place with regard to the mechanisms and budgets, it all contributes to adaptation and adaptation is basically our development as well. Loss and damage is more to try and address our urgent needs and going beyond adaptation as you can only adapt to a certain level, and then after that you have this space of uncertainty of what do you do after you adapt. It’s a very contentious issue here at COP25 but it’s something we have to keep fighting for because it’s a very important issue for us in Kiribati. 

Q: What advice would you have for young Pacific islanders who would also like to be involved in this space?
A: A lot of the climate champions we have out there are youth. The reason for that is because they’re blunt, but they speak the truth, and put on the spot a lot of the broken processes and systems we have. The youth aren’t happy with what’s being provided to them, and that’s fair enough. My advice to them would be to keep speaking the truth, but as you grow up, try to maintain that course and contribute to it as well. As they grow up they’ll see the reality of things and how things work, but stay true to your course.