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Monday, October 13, 2008

Pacific climate change round-table to meet in Samoa

The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable will be hosted by Samoa from 14 to 17 October this year. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is responsible for organising the event, which will bring together more than 100 climate change focal points and officials, academics, civil society representatives and donor agencies.

With the generous support of the Government of Switzerland the Roundtable will be held at the National University of Samoa and will focus on gaps, challenges and opportunities in taking action on climate change at the regional and national levels.

Asterio Takesy, the Director of SPREP Director has called climate change, “the major challenge for our countries, our communities and our people.” He has warned that, “the adverse impacts of climate change affect all the vital economic, social and environmental sectors of our countries. Our economies face insurmountable challenges and many of our lower lying islands and coastal areas could be annihilated by climate change.”

While the impacts of climate change will be widespread and damaging, Espen Ronneberg, Climate Change Adviser at SPREP, said “this Roundtable is a great opportunity for the region, in that there will be an opportunity to focus on what needs to be done, and on what can be done in the near term”.

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that climate change is man-made, but that it is economically feasible to mitigate its causes and physically possible to adapt to inevitable changes and impacts, if only there is political will to take action.

Ronneberg stressed the need for the Roundtable to act as an information sharing and coordinating mechanism for the region, so that best practices and lessons learned can be widely applied across the Pacific.

With support from the Government of Canada and UNESCO, SPREP is also organising a media-training workshop to run concurrently with the Roundtable to help get the messages of the Pacific out to the international community. It is expected that greater coverage of climate change issues in the media will not only raise awareness in the region, but will also help to bring these messages to a wider global audience.

The Roundtable will also see the launch of 2009 as the Pacific Year of Climate Change, as agreed to by the recently held 19th SPREP Meeting in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.

Source: SPREP

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