Greetings from SPREP,
As we prepare for the momentous occasion of Fiji’s Presidency of the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 23), the region is gearing up to bring a greater Pacific perspective to the international level. Several high level meetings in August and September have highlighted the need for Pacific concerns to be given greater prominence, starting with the August Pacific Ministerial Meeting on Meteorology. That meeting highlighted the need for enhanced climate services, improved climate and oceans observing systems, and greater support for climate change science in the region. The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting recognised Fiji’s five key priorities for the COP 23 presidency, namely: (i) facilitative dialogue; (ii) implementation guidelines and the Paris Agreement Rule Book; (iii) Gender, local communities and indigenous peoples platform; (iv) Adaptation and loss and damage; (v) Oceans pathway through 2020 that strengthens the ocean-climate change nexus. The 28th SPREP Meeting also recognised the need for enhanced support to the Pacific Island Countries delegations, which will be undertaken by the CROP+ team approach coordinated by SPREP.
COP 23 will be a crucial event in many ways. The process by which the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue, now renamed the Talanoa Dialogue, will set the stage for future such events that are aimed at ramping up ambition of mitigation efforts, support for adaptation and climate change finance. The Talanoa approach adopted by Fiji is time proven in the Pacific, and there are great expectations that it should also work at the international level. It is important that ambition in mitigation targets is prioritised, as some of the latest science indicates a very narrow time frame to turn the corner on emissions levels needed to reach the 1.5 degrees target.
There is therefore much work ahead for the region in supporting Fiji with this major responsibility and undertaking as COP 23 Presidency, and we wish them every success. SPREP and the CROP+ team will provide as much assistance as we can.