The COP23 Presidency held a “Partnership Day” on 16 October 2017 in advance of the 2017 Ministerial Dialogue, known as Pre-COP, from 17-18 October at the Sheraton/Westin Resort on Denarau Island, in Nadi, Fiji.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was represented at the Partnership Day and Pre-COP meetings by Mr. Mason Smith, Regional Director, IUCN Oceania Regional Office (ORO) and Mr. Ifereimi Dau from ORO’s Climate Change Mitigation and Risk Reduction Programme.
With the objective to build on the outcomes of the Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) Conference held in Suva in July 2017, the UNFCCC Climate Action Agenda, and on international efforts to help build a grand coalition for climate action, the Partnership Day provided an opportune time for IUCN to be visible and remain actively engaged with countries, although in most cases from a background position of policy support and confidential advice.
Partnership Day discussions revolved around the positions of Pacific Island countries on various climate change issues to be discussed at the COP23 event in Bonn in November and IUCN made a presentation for a proposed pathway for Oceans in the COP discussions to ensure that Ocean issues are brought to the forefront and become part of normal UNFCCC processes in future.
IUCN’s presentation heighted the IUCN ORO, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) partnership on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Management in Pacific Island Countries (MACBIO) and the work being carried out in five countries in the region on Marine Ecosystem Service Valuation (MESV), marine spatial planning and assisting countries with their Ocean Policy. Also discussed were:
- IUCN’s position paper on “Oceans Policies – integrating climate change on emerging ocean policies and ocean into NDCs”.
- ORO’s planned side event at the IUCN pavilion in Bonn on 15 November.
- IUCN’s partnership on the Blue Carbon Initiative and participants were notified of IUCN’s Blue Carbon side event on 13 November.
ORO’s presentation was well received as this was evident through the interest and questions generated by the audience.
ORO congratulated Fiji on the Oceans Pathway Initiative and indicated that IUCN looked forward to receiving further details of the Initiative and that ORO would remain engaged in the process. Fiji expressed its appreciation for ORO’s work and support to Fiji’s COP23 Presidency.
The IUCN ORO team also attended a side event hosted by the Pacific Climate Action Network (PCAN) with the theme “Fighting for our Survival”. Speakers included the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Hon. Enele Sopoaga, former President of Kiribati, Mr. Anote Tong, as well as PCAN and Pacific Climate Warriors. Key messages from the speakers included the need for continued urgency and maintaining the high ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, calls for a new distribution of emission reduction commitments, climate change related insurance, protection of people displaced by climate change and viewing climate change as a security issue. At the event, the PM of Tuvalu announced that going forward all non-permanent members of the UN who apply for a seat in the UN Security Council and sought Tuvalu’s support/vote would only secure Tuvalu’s vote if the member supported the notion that climate change should be debated as a security issue in the UN Security Council. A key message that “nature does not negotiate” came out strongly from the speakers along with issues such as climate justice and the role of gender in driving the climate change agenda.
Although the meeting began formally on the 16 October, discussions with countries started when the ORO team arrived at the meeting venue on 15 October. The team was able to meet key participants and parties who will be attending COP23. They included, amongst others, the COP 23 President and Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon. Frank Bainimarama. The team also met Fiji’s High Level Climate Champion Minister, Hon. Inia Seruiratu where he was assured of IUCN’s full support going forward to Bonn and beyond as well as Fiji’s newly appointed Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Retired Brigadier, Iowane Naivalurua. Also in attendance was Fiji’s Climate Change Ambassador and Fiji’s acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.
IUCN congratulated Fiji on its COP23 Presidency and assured Hon. Frank Bainimarama of IUCN’s full support. Regional Director Mason Smith will provide the Fijian PM with an updated schedule of IUCN’s side events at Bonn in the next few weeks.