Pacific islanders hone their negotiations skills for global environment conferences
- Published on 25 August 2016
A one week preparatory workshop for the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was held last week in Samoa.
The CITES COP will be held in September with the CBD COP in December this year.
The participants who attended are now better equipped to tackle negotiations at international meetings and conferences, thanks to a negotiation simulation facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
The aim of the simulation was to prepare the participants for attending international meetings allowing them to be able to participate in discussions and make interventions with their fellow peers.
Clark Peteru, SPREP Legal Adviser, spoke about the importance of the activity in preparing those who are fairly new to the Conference of the Parties negotiations, and also further developing the negotiation skills of those who have attended similar meetings in the past.
"This is something we've done in previous preparatory meetings, as everyone is able to come together to prepare for the COP meetings. We get some old ones but there will also be some new ones. For those who are new, it's a good learning experience for them, and for the more experienced ones, there's always something new to learn and pick up from these simulations."
One of the participants from Samoa, Ms. Samantha Kwan, spoke about how she found the simulation very interesting as it was the first one she had attended.
"The simulation was very helpful, as it was my first time taking part in any sort of negotiations. One of the things I noticed was how intense the negotiations were at this level. It really helps to prepare those who are new for the intensity that is to be expected at real negotiations at the international level."
The negotiations training saw participants develop ministerial briefings, interventions and deliver these based on their fictitious country and organisational profiles.
A participant from Fiji, Mr. Alfred Ralifo, who is a Policy Coordinator for WWF in Fiji said, "I find the pre-COP simulations in terms of negotiations very helpful because I have been involved in the process for a very long time and it's a good opportunity for me to actually share my knowledge and experience with the newcomers in the region."
"It's a good opportunity for them to see what happens and what we do at international conferences so that when they actually attend these conferences, they are not overwhelmed or lost as to how things are run."
The Oceania and Pacific regional joint preparatory meeting for the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the associate meetings of the Parties to the Protocols of the Convention on Biological Diversity is hosted at the SPREP Campus in Samoa from 15 – 19 August, 2016.
This is an initiative of CITES in partnership with the CBD and SPREP with financial support from the European Union.