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DG Sheppard's Closing Statement to the 2013 Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, Nadi, Fiji

5 July 2013 - Nadi, Fiji

Chair,
Delegates to the PCCR,
Ladies and Gentlemen

David Sheppard copyIt is an honour and pleasure to close this Fourth Pacific Climate Change Roundtable.

We have had a very busy few days.

The main stand out for me has been how much has been achieved since the Niue Round Table in 2011. In Niue we established a great strategy based around working groups led by different agencies, each with clear and ambitious targets.

The focus has always been sharply and clearly on supporting Pacific Island countries adapt and respond to climate change.

As Winston Churchill once said "no matter how beautiful the strategy, it is always good to look at the results"

I'm pleased to see there have been many significant results achieved since the Niue Roundtable and we have heard over the last 3 days about the major outcomes from the Finance, Knowledge Management, Adaptation, and Mitigation Working Groups.

Congratulations to all involved.

What I've been very pleased about is the clear and genuine partnership that has developed over the last few years. Partnership is one of these motherhood words that we all agree with - but it's not always seen in reality.

However, what we have seen in our region, in general, and through the Climate Roundtable, in particular, is partnership in action. Partnership that reinforces the theme of this PCCR - "Building resilience to climate change through collaboration".

At the regional level, all CROP agencies have really "rolled up their sleeves" and have worked together in support of Pacific countries. As the Head of a CROP agency I am pleased that the WACC - the Working Arm on Climate Change - is working cohesively and effectively as one team.
In Pacific countries we have seen close and effective collaboration between different agencies, particularly catalyzed through the innovative JNAP process.

At the outset, I mentioned that the PCCR is a forum for discussion of key issues regarding climate change. It is informal, rather than a formal, meeting in order to encourage open and constructive dialogue.
 
We have had a wealth of practical, exciting and innovative experience presented over the last few days. There is too much to summarize, however I would highlight some key points mind that have stuck in my mind:

- first, the importance of good science, while ensuring it builds on and reinforces traditional knowledge, and also is made available to those that need it most, particularly managers on the ground.

We have heard many great examples of science through projects such as PACCSAP, and viewed practical ways of delivering this, such as through the Climate Portal, an initiative which is home grown and owned by our Pacific region.

- second, we have heard about many positive initiatives on adaptation and mitigation in our region over the last few years, including the UNDP/SPREP/AusAID/USAID Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project, and the EU/SPC/GIZ/GCCA Coping with Climate Change Project.
There have been many exciting mitigation initiatives in our region focused on national target and energy strategies, such as the Tonga Road Map, the ambitious energy targets outlined by Fiji, and the many others highlighted so well by the Mitigation Working Group.

On mitigation and adaptation, a message I've taken from the last few days is the need for balance - to get the balance right between adaptation and mitigation, and also balance within adaptation between infrastructure based options and nature based options, with a need to increase our focus on practical, ecosystem based approaches such as we have heard about in Choiseul Province in Solomon Islands. This focus enables win-win outcomes on climate change and nature conservation.

- third, we also need to focus on resolving critical 'non-climate change' environmental and associated social issues, as we deal with the challenges of climate change. Issues such as resource depletion, invasive species, land and marine management, will be worsened by climate change and we must apply an integrated approach to their resolution.

- fourth, we need to reinforce the state of urgency facing our region regarding climate change and associated impacts, such as sea level rise. We are the smallest emitters of greenhouses gases but the first to be impacted. We need actions at all levels, from international to national. International commitments on financing need to be met and delivered to countries now, and not just talked about. Our region should continue to argue for the strongest possible targets for limiting future temperature increases and we should get behind and support AOSIS efforts.
Please go over the wealth of material presented to you in the flash drive covering all presentations and draw your own conclusions.

I mentioned on Day 1 of this PCCR that the series of meetings in Fiji over these two weeks is historical for addressing climate change and disaster risk reduction in the Pacific. This is the first time in our region, indeed in the world, that we have ever bought together the Climate and Disaster Risk Roundtables as well as the Pacific Meteorological Council.

I think we have benefitted this week from the joint sessions of the PMC and the PCCR, held yesterday, and also the joint session of the PMC and the Disaster Reduction Roundtable, held on Tuesday.

As Ambassador Feturi of Samoa once mentioned "No-one has a monopoly on new ideas" - the more we can get together, share experience, develop synergies, the better the outcomes will be for the countries and territories of the Pacific.

I'm looking forward to the Joint Meeting next week which will be the first time climate change and disaster risk management communities will come together to discuss the way forward in developing one strategy, integrating both climate change and disaster risk management. The meeting next week will kick start the Road Map process.

It sends a clear message that we must integrate our responses if we are to effectively address the challenges of climate change and natural disasters in this century.
Enough from me, I think it has been an excellent PCCR and would now like to thank some of the many persons and agencies involved in this Roundtable.

Thank you to all presenters for excellent and cutting edge presentations. Thank you to all PCCR participants for excellent questions and active involvement, particularly through the Working Groups.

Thank you to SPREP staff who have worked really hard over the last few months to make this PCCR a reality. I am humbled and proud to be leading such a fantastic team of dedicated women and men.

Thank you to our partner CROP agencies - we have really appreciated your positive and open approach to partnership so we can all join hands to better support our Pacific countries and territories.

Thank you to all donors and partners for your valued support to countries of our region - this support is deeply valued and appreciated. Please stay with us.

Thank you to all Pacific countries and territories for the great work you are doing to respond to the many challenges of climate change, in such difficult circumstances. All of the efforts of the PCCR are directed at supporting your efforts, and thank you for taking time to be here and to participate in this roundtable.

Finally , I would like to extend congratulations to you, Chair for your excellent stewardship in guiding this roundtable. May I convey through you my thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of Fiji for your warm welcome and for hosting us so professionally and effectively in your beautiful country.

For all leaving this week I wish you a safe travel home, for those staying for the Road map and other meetings next week I wish you all the best for your activities. Thank you, Merci Beaucoup, Faafetai Lava, and Vinaka vaka levu.

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