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Pacific climate organisations seek Fiji engagement

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Update: 2:42PM CIVIL societies in the Pacific are working ahead of time in their preparation for the next Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting in a bid to bolster the regional voice on climate change.

The Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN), which met last week in response to an international call for more CSO engagement has prioritised plans to collaborate with the Fijian government ahead of COP23 to be held in Bonn, Germany in November.

While Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama holds the chairmanship of COP23, PICAN sees several major opportunities to raise the profile of the Pacific climate change struggle

According Krishneil Narayan, the PICAN coordinator there 58 civil society organisations with strongholds in Vanuatu, Fiji, Tuvalu and Kiribati and individual organisations in the Cook Islands, Marshall Islands and NIUE who stand ready to collaborate with the Fijian government and the COP23 secretariat.

"Our main focus has been to try and raise the profile of the Pacific on policy so we are engaging with the Fiji Government to ensure that issues like loss and damage, climate financing and adaption is included in negotiations," Mr Narayan said.

"There are some very technical issues which we believe must be part of the negotiations and where there is a need to prioritise the pacific."

In existence for 10 years but with a revamped approach to collaboration which began a year and a half ago, PICAN is hoping it can also physically bolster some of the Pacific delegations to the meeting in Germany in November.

PICAN met as a network for the first time specifically for COP23 preparations last week in Suva and mapped out a plan of action for the Bonn meeting.

"We are looking forward to sitting down with the Fiji government Director of Climate Change because one our resolutions was to start linking our issues with the COP23 team which includes the Fiji secretariat," Mr Narayan said.

"We would like to make an official official connection to find out how we can link our work and to identify what areas of collaboration can happen between us and the Fijian government and of course the Pacific governments."

PICAN is hoping to improve on earlier trend where CSOs worked individually towards the COP meets.

"In order to work better, it's important that we have a more coordinated position as an alliance."

At previous COP meets, CSOs would mobilise inside of two months so this year, the network is encouraging members to work well ahead of time in the hope of maximising the opportunities that Fiji's leadership may give the climate change struggle.

"One of the PICAN priorities is to take as much Pacific representation as possible to the COP23. We tend to focus on only the policy and negotiation but outside of that as well is an important opportunity for capacity building for CSOs."

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