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Pacific Climate Change Agreement

  • December 16th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

png-moresby-port.jpgA new deal has been set up (15.12.10) between the European Union and Pacific nations, to collaborate on dealing with impacts of climate change – as a flow-on from the UN conference at Cancun.

PACIFIC ISLANDERS VULNERABLE  TO EXTREMES OF WEATHER

png-landscape.jpgAn EU statement says the aim is to “mobilise EU Member States and international partners to join efforts to reinforce Pacific countries’ capacity to address the impacts climate change more efficiently. “

It says those countries are “possibly the most vulnerable to climate change impacts”, and the new agreement will  help ensure that a “fair share of international climate change funding goes to Pacific countries.”

It points out that 50% of Pacific Islanders live near the coast, very exposed to extreme weather.

Apart from storms and high seas there is the fear of rising sea-levels associated with global warming, threatening to swamp low-lying areas, like the islands of Tuvalu.

The European Commission has already ear-marked €90-million (A$120.5-million; xe.com, 16.12.10) for projects to deal with climate change in the Pacific region, in the current five-year period, 2008-13.

TERMS OF AGREEMENT

piebalgs2.jpgAnnouncing the post-Cancun agreement, the European Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs (picture) the EU had confirmed  its support for partners in dealing with the climate problem, notably the most vulnerable.

“We have to prevent millions of people from falling into extreme poverty because of the disastrous effects of climate change”, he said.

slade-pacific.jpegThe Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuiloma Neroni Slade (picture), said the organisation hoped its agreement with Europe would be an inspiration n to others in the international community to assist vulnerable countries.

“As recognised by Forum Leaders who described climate change as the great challenge of our time, the Forum region remains very vulnerable in terms of threats to livelihoods, security and the overall well-being of the peoples of the Pacific”, he said.

The parties to the agreement, currently in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding, will get together with national governments, civil society groups and the private sector to develop a Joint Plan for Action, for publication at a high-level Pacific conference on climate change next year.

It will be aimed at developing the most effective and coordinated delivery methods for pulling together research and actions on climate, and for disposing of additional funds.

BACKGROUND

png-madang-sunrise.JPGMember countries of the Pacific island Forum are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

pacific_islands_forum_logosvg.pngThe two “overseas” countries of Australia and New Zealand, and the French Pacific territories or departments will be engaged in the climate initiative.

The Cancun conference, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate  Change, took place on 29.11.10 to 10.12.10.

See EUAustralia Online, “Cancun: EU ‘bridging’ the climate change factions”, 14.12.10.

STATEMENT

The following is an extract from the EU statement:

A fragile situation in the Pacific Islands

As 50% of people in the Pacific Islands live close to the coastline, populations in the Pacific are the most exposed to threats such as sea rise or extreme weather, both in terms of economic opportunities (impact on fishery resources, on tourism) and subsistence. These states have limited opportunities for economic growth, face structural capacity constraints and are very vulnerable to recurrent natural disasters. Climate change can further exacerbate tensions over scarce resources such as land or water, affect influence agriculture and hamper progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Background on European Commission financed climate change programs

The European Commission is leading the EU’s efforts in development cooperation with the Pacific, with more than €600 million made available for 2008-2013. In addition, the EU dedicates €70,49 million for the Pacific Overseas Countries and Territories on the same period in the framework of the EU-OCT (Overseas Countries and Territories) association. Addressing climate change has been one of the priorities of the last few years, with €90 million for programmes at country and regional level. They notably focus on adaptation measures, sustainable management of natural resources, renewable energy and disaster preparedness.

For instance, programmes in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands seek to increase countries’ capabilities to cope with the effects of climate change by improving its overall understanding of the effects of climate change. They also aim to strengthen climate resilience and disaster risk reduction in key sectors. At the regional level, the EU programmes support strategic actions on adaptation by strengthening capacity building, community engagement and encouraging applied research. Also, the European Development Fund finances climate change related programmes. For example, renewable energy is the main sector of activity for EU actions in Federate States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Nauru, Palau, and Tonga. The objective is to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency that will help reduce dependency on fossil fuels and improve the quality of life in the concerned countries.

Another example refers to the “INTEGRE” project developed by Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Pitcairn, the Pacific Overseas Countries and Territories associated with the EU. This project of €12 million focuses on actions in the areas of protection of the environment and the management of natural resources and island ecosystems, with an overall objective relating to adaptation to climate change. The project will reinforce regional cooperation in these areas by the means of implementing in the Overseas Countries and Territories projects carried out in Pacific States. This will notably allow networking between them. This project will be co-managed with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

For more information

Q&A on the EU – Pacific Island Countries relations and EU actions to address climate change in the region

MEMO/10/360

DG DEV http://ec.europa.eu/development/index_en.cfm

DG AIDCO http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

PIF Secretariat – http://www.forumsec.org.fj/index.cfm


Reference

European Union Delegation to Australia [[email protected]], Media Release: Joint Pacific-EU Initiative on Climate Change, “CP and SPF Gen Sec Slade launch a joint initiative on climate change 16.12.10”, 15.12.10. http://www.delaus.ec.europa.eu/, (15.12.10).

Pacific Islands Forum,(home), Suva. http://www.forumsec.org.fj/index.cfm, (16.12.10).

Pictures

Pacific landscapes, PNG; Pacific Forum logo; PIF, EU

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