2 December 2019, Madrid, Spain – A wave of the Pacific has descended upon the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25), with the official opening of the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion at the IFEMA Convention Centre in Madrid, Spain.
The opening was well attended by Pacific island delegations and members of regional organisations of the Pacific, as well as delegates and visitors from all across the world who are in Madrid for the two-week climate change conference, which was also officially opened earlier today.
A special ceremony was held to officially open the Pavilion, which incorporated a mixture of Pacific traditional welcoming rites. It involved the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion team and included members of the New Zealand’s Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group, and delegates from New Zealand, Fiji, Tokelau, Tonga, Samoa and of other Pacific islands.
In her opening remarks, welcoming guests to the Pavilion, H.E. Ambassador Kay Harrison, New Zealand’s Climate Change Ambassador said as the most vulnerable region to climate change, the Pacific islands voices and experiences were of utmost importance at COP25.
“The Pacific island nations here tonight are amongst the most vulnerable in the world to climate change, yet they are the least responsible for it. The Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion was an idea to bring to COP25 Pacific voices, experiences, and the climate change reality of Pacific people and to show the 31,000 people here at the COP – our side of the planet that is so at risk,” said H.E. Ambassador Harrison.
The Pavilion follows on from the success of the Pacific and Koronivia Pavilion at COP24 in Katowice, Poland last year.
“Spread across the Pacific are 15 million people who speak on behalf of a space bigger than the continent of Africa, and when we have a Pavilion like this in a place like the UNFCCC, it is our vaka,” said Mr Taholo Kami, Special Representative on Oceans, Ministry of Economy, Fijian Government.
“This is the canoe that we come to in the midst of negotiations for inspiration. It is our canoe that takes the message of our people, and the message of the life that’s a part of us and a part of our ancestors, that we take into those [negotiation] rooms and it says that there is something more important for us to remember – and that is that we share this vaka. That it is not just our vaka, but it is a vaka that every person in this campus must share because if we are going to do something good with this planet, we’ve got to be heading in the same direction together.”
The Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion is a Pacific partnership supported by New Zealand and Fiji and managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
It will provide a platform for discussion, debate and knowledge-transfer on issues important to the Pacific, including options for enhancing mitigation and resilience. It will also amplify the Pacific’s call for ambitious global climate action by all and support collaboration involving stakeholders from the Pacific to promote a high level of Nationally Determined Contributions ambitions.
Speaking on behalf of the Pavilion team from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Ms Tagaloa Cooper, Director of Climate Change Resilience Programme said - “On behalf of the Director General and the Secretariat, I would like to convey our appreciation for the confidence New Zealand, Fiji and the Pacific have placed in us to manage this Pavilion, bringing to fruition the idea of a Pacific space into a reality.
“This is our space, it is where we will share our stories, our knowledge, and our experiences. We look forward to fruitful events and outcomes, the exchange of ideas, and the strong call for action that is going to be made by our proud Pacific island countries.”
It will also be a space for Pacific people to exchange stories of national resilience planning, and to showcase the challenges and opportunities of climate change-affected regions in the Pacific using a range of communications mediums.
The Pavilion will be open throughout the two weeks of the Climate Change COP, from 2 – 13 December 2019. It will host a range of events each day, with a focus on the Pacific.
For more information on the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion, as well as the schedule of events, you can download the Attendify app from Google Play or the Apple App Store, visit www.pacific-pavilion.com, or email [email protected]