Third workshop of AOSIS on climate change negotiations, energy, and sustainable development

February 07, 2001 H.E. Tuiloma Neroni Slade Download PDF

Topic: Climate

The second workshop of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) on climate change negotiations, management and strategy was held in Apia, Samoa, from 26 July to 4 August, 2000, under the auspices of the Government of Samoa. It was organized by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in cooperation with the Division for Sustainable Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). The workshop was generously sponsored by the Government of Italy, with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) providing substantial travel support to a number of participants.
The opening session of the workshop, held on 26 July and chaired by H.E. Dr. John W. Ashe, representing the Delegation of Antigua and Barbuda, which serves as Vice Chairman of AOSIS, began with a prayer from Lupematasila Uele Vaaulu, President of Pesega Central Stake, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. H.E. The Honorable Matatauali’itia Afa Lesa, Samoa’s Acting Minister of Lands and Environment, delivered the featured address and formally declared the workshop open. The Minister underscored the importance of AOSIS as the umbrella group of small island developing States (SIDS), and highlighted the need for SIDS to work together on issues such as climate change, in an effort to develop common solutions and the maximize the opportunities to learn from each other. He requested participants to further explore these critical issues in the course of the workshop. He added that AOSIS must continue its active engagement in the various international processes, and that the group should build up its core expertise to assist its Member States in related negotiations at the international level. He concluded by quoting from one of the Member States’ Constitution, that… “while an ocean lies between our islands, it does not separate us, it unites us.”
UNDP’S Resident Representative and Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Samoa, Mr. Serge Ducasse, also delivered a welcoming address. He noted that, as a sponsor of the workshop, UNDP is stressing its commitment to assist SIDS in their efforts to cope with climate change and to better understand its impacts. He emphasized that AOSIS as a group must be enabled and assisted in seeking the solutions to and directions for the issues related to climate change.
The keynote address was delivered by the Chairman of AOSIS, HE. Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni Slade of Samoa. He outlined some of the tasks that lay ahead for participants and stressed the importance of the cooperative spirit that has led AOSIS to make meaningful contributions to the international debate on sustainable development in general and climate change in particular. He expressed the hope that the workshop would enhance the depth and knowledge of the issues for the participants and that they in turn would disseminate, either through SIDSNet or through national consultations, the knowledge gained to their colleagues who were unable to participate.
Discussions on the national communications on climate change were conducted over four sessions. The first session dealing with presentations on national communications on climate change by the national coordinators, was chaired by Mr. Tuuu leti Taulealo, Director, Ministry of Lands and Environment of Samoa. Introductory remarks were made by Mr. Yamil Bonduki of the UNDP. The Chairman then posed a series of questions of the national coordinators, which was followed by an in-depth discussion amongst the participants on the various aspects of the national communications process. The discussion was broadened to include regional aspects and possible areas for cooperation. Statements were made by Barbados, Cook Islands, Bahamas, Marshall Islands, Jamaica, Mauritius, Vanuatu, Trinidad and Tobago, Seychelles, Nauru, Saint Lucia, Fiji, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Tuvalu, Grenada, Cuba and Samoa.
The participants were then divided into two working groups, one representing the Pacific Islands, while the other consisted of participants from the Caribbean and others regions of AOSIS. Each working group then made a number of recommendations on the priority issues identified in the discussions. The main findings of the two working groups are attached as an annex to this report.
Mr. Rolph Payet, Director General of the Ministry of Environment and Transport of Seychelles, chaired the second session, which dealt with the recommendations of the two working groups. Participants discussed further the recommendations of the two working groups and recommended those points agreed to by consensus to the plenary of the workshop. Statements were made by Cuba, Mauritius, Jamaica, Federated States of Micronesia, Bahamas, Samoa, Palau, Niue and the representative of the UNDP.
The third session, which discussed the national communications process itself, was chaired by Mr. Phillip Weech, Chairman of the National Climate Change Committee, Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission. Participants were given an overview of the regional approach utilized in the Pacific Island Climate Change Assistance Program. Mr. Wayne King, Manager, PICCAP, South Pacific Regional Environment Program, explained the benefits of the regional approach while also highlighting the difficulties encountered along the way. Professor Albert Binger, DIRECTOR OF THE University of the West Indies Center for Environment and Development (UWICED) gave an overview of the Caribbean experience and how this had resulted in a somewhat different approach under the Caribbean Preparing for Adaptation to Global Climate Change (CPACC) program. Statements were made by Antigua and Barbuda, Palau, Jamaica, Seychelles, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, SPREP, UNFCCC Secretariat, and UNDP.
The fourth session was chaired by H.E. Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Chairman of AOSIS. Participants both elaborated and consolidated the various elements that had been raised in the working groups and in the ensuing discussion. Statements were made by Tuvalu, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Cook Islands, Niue, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Marshall Islands, SIDSNet, SPREP, IGCI, PacNews and Greenpeace. Participants agreed to the recommendation of the chairman that the “secretariat” should reproduce and distribute the recommendations on national communications for consideration by at a subsequent plenary meeting of the workshop. The representative of UNDP made a
closing remark. The Chairman, on behalf of AOSIS, thanked the UNDP for their support and in particular for the assistance given by the UNDP National Communications Support Program.
The opening session under this agenda item was chaired by Mr. Joseph Konno, Director, Environmental Protection Agency, Chuuk State Government, Federated States of Micronesia. Introductory remarks were made by H.E. Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni Slade, followed by a detailed description of the background to the CDI by Professor Binger of UWICED, in his capacity as the consultant for the preparation of the SIDS input to the GEF’S Capacity Development Initiative (CDI). Dr. Walter Vermuellen also presented a paper on capacity issues in the area of land degradation in Samoa, while Mr. Tepa Suaesi and Dr. Eletise Suluvale covered biodiversity and climate change respectively. Mr. Rawleston Moore from Barbados discussed the capacity development issues both from the perspective of Barbados as well as from the Caribbean as a region. Mr. Neville Koop, Director of Pacific Ocean and Atmosphere Consultants, made a presentation on capacity needs in the Pacific, based on his experiences in SPREP and with the meteorological services of the region.
Luc Chang-Ko also made a presentation on issues pertaining to capacity development from the perspective of the Indian Ocean SIDS. Audrey Dropsey of SPREP made a presentation on a survey that SPREP have carried out on the effectiveness of training that has been offered so far in the context of various projects and programs. Statements were made by representatives from Palau, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Grenada, SPREP, and the University of the South Pacific.
The second session was devoted to discussions in inter-regional Working Groups and the results of these discussions were transmitted by the chairmen of the inter-regional working groups to the third session chaired by H.E. Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni Slade. The recommendations which were agreed to by consensus were then reproduced by the “secretariat’ and distributed to participants. The Chairman, on behalf of AOSIS, through Professor Binger, thanked the GEF for their support and in particular for the assistance given by Professor Binger during the workshop.
The first session under this agenda item was chaired by H.E. Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni Slade. He introduced the topics to be discussed, and then gave an opportunity to the representative of the UNFCCC Secretariat, Mrs. Clare Parker, to give an overview of the road to UNFCCC’S COP6, to be held in the Hague in November 2000. A statement was made by the Head of Delegation of Italy, H.E. Ambassador Mario Sica, who spoke on the willingness of Italy to cooperate with AOSIS Members. He assured the participants of the preparedness of the Italian delegates to contribute to the deliberations and to answer any questions regarding the possibilities for joint efforts with Italian institutions. He emphasized the interest of Italy in issues such as capacity building, research and training, and the need to support small and medium sized enterprises. Ambassador Slade, speaking on behalf of AOSIS, thanked the Italian Government for their very generous support to the workshop.
Wayne King of SPREP highlighted the experiences gained in capacity building from the accumulation of views and reports in the PICCAP project, and identified the adaptation needs of the Pacific SIDS. He emphasized that the special needs of the Pacific SIDS are present in all stages of the process of the preparation of their national communications, and underscored the fact that the country team approach was key to a successful process at the national level. He added that as a result of this approach, the national communications produced through PICCAP have enhanced cooperative national team efforts, and inclusive of all stakeholders in the process.

In the discussions that followed, specific issues emerged on adaptation among the country teams and among the national coordinators. While adaptation options had not yet been distinctly defined, there were plenty of tasks ahead for the country teams. Many indicated that what was really required were better tools to measure change, and to demonstrate vulnerabilities to the domestic audience. Indicators of change on for example coral reefs and mangroves were seen as important in order to reach a wide range of stakeholders. Knowledge of adaptation options was still limited and the Pacific region in particular was just beginning to look at policy development and implementation strategies for how to move into the next phases of vulnerability assessment and adaptation. The national coordinators seem agreed to the need for pilot projects and workplans for scoping out adaptation projects. SPREP have suggested that the concept of an adaptation “toolbox” be developed, that would combine awareness with professional and technical training, and would also include regional models.
Mr. Brett Orlando from IUCN presented some views on how the ecosystem approach could assist countries in studying vulnerability and in reaching adaptation solutions.
He noted that the renewed impetus to adaptation in the FCCC process, and the future establishment of the adaptation fund under the CDM meant that countries like the AOSIS Members would have to reach new levels of understanding in order to benefit from the possibilities. The ecosystem approach, he added, would seek to set a strategy in place for maintaining and enhancing the value of ecological goods and services, and to promote adaptive management of the ecosystem. Learning by doing was highlighted as a positive contribution, as was decentralization of the management process. He concluded by noting that the main outcome should be to set up practical mechanisms for transferring information and expertise to the stakeholders, to develop
partnerships and to ensure that the communities participate fully.
Professor John Hay of IGCI addressed the need to have effective links between science and the development of policy, and that the supporting input from the international negotiations process must also be channeled to the right levels of Government. He noted that while science driven policy is the preferred option, much of the international negotiations have ended up with policy driving science. He also spoke about the very serious threats to the SIDS that were being investigated by scientists on the IPCC. He added that while there are still some uncertainties about the direct effects on specific communities, it is likely that the impacts of increasing extreme events would take a high toll on the SIDS. Finally, he concluded that it is essential to begin integrated assessments of vulnerable areas and sectors in SIDS, and to ensure that appropriate technologies and know-how is transferred to SIDS, and that climate change also needs to be mainstreamed into national sustainable development planning.
In the ensuing discussion, Bahamas, Guyana, Samoa, Palau, Jamaica, Italy, Cape Verde, Federated States of Micronesia, SIDSNet, SPREP and WWF made statements.
The second session was chaired by Ms. I’o Tuakeu-Lindsay, Director of the Environment Service of Cook Islands. Participants continued the discussion of the issue of adaptation to climate change, in particular on the next steps for the negotiations. ”
Mr. Rawleston Moore of Barbados chaired the third session, which focused on national communications and the tasks ahead for the country teams. Taholo Kami (SIDSNet) made a presentation on future steps for SIDSNet. He enumerated the various problems such as data collection, at national and regional levels, and the difficulties encountered in sharing data with the global level. Improvement is needed in the software available for the collection of data in SIDS. He highlighted the need to establish which agencies or offices are doing what tasks, to finding the opportunities, and the publicity. He noted that not only are SIDS doing more checking but also the research organizations of the developed countries. He reminded participants that SIDSNet affords SIDS with the opportunity to have their stakeholders as the best informed, and that the donors are informed. He concluded that SIDSNet is looking at standardization of information, and to establishing AOSIS standards for how we collect information and sharing, for example online agendas, presentations, etc, which would allow for access to meetings of those WHO cannot attend, and give much better basis for future work.
Prof. Richard Warrick (IGCI) presented a paper on strategies for vulnerability and adaptation assessments in the context of national communications. He indicated that while the ideal situation for SIDS would be to carry out a full scale technical vulnerability and adaptation study, SIDS have done parallel vulnerability and adaptation statements instead, and these have been resulting in workplans and scoping reports.
He noted that these provide the grist for the mill of national communications. He stressed the need to put in place an ongoing process, and cautioned that asking IPCC to change guidelines is not the necessary point. Rather it may be better for SIDS to continue with the process of vulnerability and adaptation statements and scoping out possible pilot projects may provide better input in the short and medium term. Adaptation can also be seen as a process, comprising six components, such as capacity building, adaptation assessments, awareness raising as part of incorporating adaptation in the national planning, mainstreaming of adaptation, and inclusion of monitoring and evaluation over time. He stressed that greater attention should be paid
to the human dimension. He concluded that adaptation is process that must be incorporated into the national planning.
A presentation on natural disasters, climate change and sustainable development: from theory to practice, WAS MADE by Claudio Margottini (Italy). It cautioned that the economic strengths of Italy increased the resilience to natural disasters, and emphasized that the interaction between different disasters shows this to clearly be the case. Mitigation as well as prevention has been considered in the Italian context. Numerous studies, such as one carried out on sea level rise, looked at the velocity of the sea changes. This was highlighted as being of particular interest to the participants. It was stressed that it was especially important to establish a national approach that is useful to the process at the international level. A practical example was the development of hazard maps, which many SIDS have stated as being sorely needed.
Participants discussed the information and raised numerous questions in light of the presentations, including on the establishment of regional centers in AOSIS regions. Statements were made by Mauritius, Samoa, Barbados, Palau, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Cuba, Marshall Islands, Saint Lucia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago, Federated States of Micronesia, Cape Verde, Seychelles, Cyprus, Italy, SPREP and UNEP.
The fourth session was chaired by Dr. Renuka Padarath of the Meteorological Service of Mauritius. The discussions focused on capacity building needs, and revisited some of the points from the discussions under the Capacity Development Initiative. A paper on the GEF and responsiveness to SIDS was presented by Mr. Gerald Miles (SPREP), who stated that being responsive and being effective are different things. He spoke of the lessons learned, from the days of the pilot phase and then on to the priorities laid out by the BPOA. On the GEF project cycle, he noted that assistance available through the grants from the GEF’s project development facility (PDF) had been helpful. Since the GEF constituency arrangement was based on the World Bank structure, the arrangement allowed for all the Pacific SIDS to be grouped together. However, for some SIDS regions this could not be so easily achieved. He bemoaned the lengthy, time-consuming consultations that were necessary in the Pacific, noting that the costs of these regional consultations are quite high, making it more costly to work on the regional basis. Nevertheless, the Pacific SIDS have made clear their preference to work together as a group. Clearly then the Pacific Governments are getting access to GEF funds, but they need to do more and be more proactive. He further noted that the transparency of tracking the projects is not easy. And when
the project takes 3 years to set up, with life span of 3 years, the difficulties are apparent. Country teams do build capacity at the national level. Capacity building remains essential. Focal point training is ongoing and requires further usage. Technical support to SIDS representatives on the GEF could be done in a more concerted way.

Participants heard a presentation on main topics for a program on information and public awareness by Dr. Vincenzo Ferrara (Italy), who detailed the programmatic components required. He also highlighted the areas in which cooperation with Italy might be available to AOSIS, either as individual countries or as regional groups. A discussion on the target groups for information and public education and awareness was started by this presentation and continued throughout the workshop.
A presentation was also made on non-linear analysis, forecasting and chemical monitoring: formation and training of researchers by Antonello Pasini (Italy), who suggested that training be held for AOSIS staff at Italian institutes with further coursework done in one or more of the SIDS.
Brett Orlando presented a paper on capacity building, based on work that has been carried out by IUCN. He informed participants that it was one of IUCN’s main areas of work, and that the organization was seeking to respond to the COP6 decision. He added that, since capacity building has not been explicitly defined in the convention or elsewhere, it is at least formulated in agenda 21, in a variety of ways. He noted that
capacity building must be country driven; address country-specific needs; build on what is already available, and develop endogenous capacity. It is also an iterative process that must be sustainable. Some ad hoc activities in the past have been successful but then not followed up. A large number of stakeholders need to be involved and should also include NGOs. In the process the NGOs do play a very useful role. In the national communications, the effort often stops after the submission of the formal communication, and it is clear that the process must continue beyond that stage – which is an avenue for countries to begin using NGOs to assist.
Luc Chang-Ko (Seychelles) presented views from the Indian Ocean SIDS, in the areas of public education, training and awareness. He noted that these were seen as the most effective ways to get people to change their ways of behavior. Lack of strategic look at planning and guidance or any central government policy in this regard has often hampered progress. He pointed out that there is a gap between the climate change process and the necessary national responses to it, and highlighted the difficulties in making these issues acceptable to the population. The focus on climate change education shows that it is better to have a sustained effort and hence a better way of looking at the issues. It is important to cover all bases such as in taking actions and suggesting solutions for people. The aim is to develop a strategic approach with the media, and have a workshop for the policy makers. Other important issues raised
included climate change information and research centers. SIDS must be enabled to look at sustainable development and related environment activities that can take care of their further needs under the convention,
Statements were made by representatives from the Seychelles, Tonga, Cyprus, Samoa, Palau and Guyana.
The session chaired by H.E. Ambassador Robert Van Lierop, former Permanent Representative of Vanuatu to the United Nations and the 1″ Chairman of AOSIS (1990-1993) was very lively. The session discussed recent scientific findings and heard a presentation on sinks, the IPCC TAR, and other SIDS research to by Ian Fry (Tuvalu). He described the IPCC special report on land use change and forestry, and made a general introduction to the carbon cycle. He also related the several articles of the convention and the protocol, as they became relevant to sinks in the discussion. He stated that sinks are being considered within the discussion of assigned amounts of the Annex 1 Parties.

Document continues. Download the PDF to read the full version.

Sub Topic: Cross-cutting


Meeting: CSD9