The side event, “Oceania and Climate Change: Perspectives from the Blue Continent,” took place on Wednesday, 15 November 2017, during the Fiji / Bonn Climate Change Conference (COP23) at the IUCN pavilion. It was organized by the IUCN Oceania regional office (ORO).
Moderated by Professor Brendan Mackey from Griffith University, Australia, panelists included Professor Elisabeth Holland (the University of the South Pacific), Hon. Semi Koroilavesau, Minister for Fisheries, Fiji, Mr. Paula Ma’u, Permanent Secretary MEIDECC, Tonga, Ms. Noelene Nabulivou (DIVA Fiji), and Mr. Mason Smith, Regional Director, IUCN ORO.
The opening remark was delivered by Mr. Bruce Kijiner, Foreign Affairs & Trade Secretary Republic of the Marshal Islands and the keynote address was delivered by Dr. Teuea Toatu, Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Kiribati. The former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong summed up for the event.
Key messages from the side event were:
- Whilst the Oceania region is the smallest emitters of GHG, they recognise and include nature-based solutions to climate change when planning their projects.
- Countries also appreciate the vital role that healthy ecosystems play through ecosystem-based adaptation and are now starting to assess the risks posed by climate change to their vulnerable communities and ecosystems, and are now prioritising these in their national adaptation planning and actions.
- The blended approach of using traditional local knowledge and empowering the women and youth of Oceania is recognised with the inclusion of science based approaches.