Team Pacific at the UN Climate Change Negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco: Tuvalu, Tonga, Federated States of Micronesia


Part of our series featuring quick snippets from Pacific island negotiator, introducing you to the people representing the Pacific islands in the Climate Change negotiations. Today from Morocco we focus on H.E Ambassador Jane Chigiyal, the FSM Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr Sione Fulivai of Tonga and Ms Pepetua Latasi from Tuvalu. - #4PacIslands

H.E Ambassador Jane Chigiyal has consistently followed the UN Climate Change Negotiations for FSM since 2012, she was the Bureau Representative for the Conference of the Parties in 2012.

Team Pacific HEJane copy copy

Q What has been your most memorable moment in the negotiations?

"I think it was last year when the Paris Agreement was adopted, to be part of something great and the fact that it was accelerated when bringing it into force."

Q. What would you say is your biggest challenge?

"While we would like to think that it is very technical and there is a need for capacity building, at the end of it all, the negotiations are still very political, so it needs to be looked at from that political angle as well, not just the technical."

Q. What advice would you have for other Pacific island negotiators that are new to the UN Climate change negotiations?

"I think just to throw yourself in there, that's the only way to learn, and that's part of capacity building. Training is anything that you are involved in while learning something new. This process is important to us and we need to be consistent as what I have noticed is that the Pacific is not consistent, or constant in our participation."

Mr Sione Fulivai, the Principal Climate Finance Analyst of Tonga's Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC). His first COP was in 2008, in Poznan, Poland and over the years he has covered the Adaptation, Loss and Damage as well as Climate Finance negotiating threads.

Team Pacific Tonga

Q. What is your most memorable moment at the UN Climate Negotiations?

"For me it has been learning the system and understanding it and making sure that you become part of the mechanics and you are not just like floating around finding something to do. You actually have some direction and have some input into the work that's going on here, it has been my growth in this process."

Q. Who are your role models in this process?

"The role models are those that have been in this process for such a long time, some of them you can call your frenemies. I don't know them personally but just from being in these meetings, if I could give some names - such as Bernarditas Muller from the Philippines, and someone who has actually retired - Muhammad al-Sabban, who was Saudi Arabia's lead negotiator in the climate talks, they are brilliant negotiators and they know all the angles for nearly every decision made under this process. From the Pacific I have two names in mind, one would be Ian Fry and another is Espen Ronneberg because the tools they provide us with are priceless when it comes to a process like this, so its best you learn as much as you can from these guys."

Q. Any advice you have for new and incoming negotiators?

"Well, the advice I gave the Tongan delegation is don't try and throw yourself into reading up on everything, jot down the things you don't understand and you should go to people, not only in your delegation but others as well, to find out those answers. Your learning curve will be a lot faster by doing that rather than trying to read up on 21 years of COP decisions."

Ms Pepetua Latasi from Tuvalu has returned to the UN Climate negotiations in 2011 and has since taken on key roles such as the co-chair of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage as well as the Head of the Least Developed Countries Experts Group.

Team Pacific Pepetua copy copy

Q. What has been your most memorable moment at the UN Climate talks?

"I think it has to be the inclusion of the standalone article on Loss and Damage in the Paris Agreement after negotiating that for many, many, long, long days and nights – lots of long hours!"

Q. What has been your biggest challenge?

"Back home in the Pacific we are doing many things in our normal working life, not just focu'ssing on Loss and Damage in the negotiations, whereas compared to other negotiators from other countries, all they focus on is the negotiations. All year they study the negotiation text and all political situations that are related to the Loss and Damage discussion, whereas for us in the Pacific we have to do many things. We have to do community consultation, coastal protection, project management and so we have a very limited time to focus on the negotiations, maybe a month to prepare for the COP."

Q. What advice would you give to Pacific negotiators that are starting in this area?
"I will say this is a process that requires time, commitment and effort. You don't have to be a lawyer to follow this process you just have to be committed and listen to what's going on and be able to formulate positions for your country and the region."
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