High-Level Dialogue explores way forward for a climate-challenged region


A two-day high-level event organised by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the Fiji Government at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva convened Climate Change Ministers, Diplomats and Policy experts from across the region to have a dialogue on the issue of climate change.

Known as the Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change, this gathering focused on exchanging critical social, economic and environmental issues, challenges and needs facing the region.

Representing The University of the South Pacific (USP) as a member of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) Agencies at the High-Level Dialogue was Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pal Ahluwalia and Development Cooperation Coordinator Aneet Kumar.

The meeting, which started on Monday (August 21, 2023), builds upon the experiences of the first “High-Level Dialogue” held in the Caribbean last year.

Sharing his thoughts, Professor Ahluwalia stressed, “The two-day high-level dialogue articulated opportunities for us on ways in which we can engage, support and collaborate in building sustainable, long-term, low-emission sustainable development pathways.”

“Given USP’s unique presence in the region and its role as a CROP agency, this dialogue was of high importance for us to get an understanding of the region’s direction on these issues, collectively, especially in terms of the climate financing and Loss and Damage agenda. These will help inform our priority areas under the new strategic plan 2025- 2027, strengthening USP’s role and contributions in the fight against climate change.”

Following the identification of regional priority areas, the dialogue focused on the role of improved data and information in effectively managing cross-cutting challenges.

The dialogue was officiated by Fiji’s Prime Minister and Minister for Climate Change of the Republic of Fiji, Honorable Sitiveni Rabuka, alongside the Director General and Special Representative for Conference of Parties (COP 28) President-Designate Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi and the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands, Dr Henry Puna.


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