The PACRES USP component supports facilitation of, and participation in preparatory trainings for COP events, including Pre-COP Trainings and SPREP-led negotiator trainings. Working with P-ACP governments, PACRES supports young negotiators for participation in UNFCCC Conference of Parties events.
The University of the South Pacific this year hosted a three-day Pre-COP training as part of the European Union-funded intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) program to assist in capacity building and preparing USP students for the COP27 Negotiations in Egypt.
A total of 24 students attended the three-day training, which was conducted both face-to-face and via Zoom.
This year, the USP EU PACRES programme funded four USP students to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 7 to November 18, 2022, with a strong representation from Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
The Covid-19 pandemic challenges prevented PACRES student participants from traveling to Glasgow, Scotland for an in-person participation. Nonetheless, a team of 13 (9 women and 4 men) PACRES supported students joined the happenings of the COP26 event virtually 31 October–13 November 2021. Six of the 13 students formed the core team that directly provided back stopping support to the Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu Government technical teams. While the remaining seven students supported this core team of six. This year the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) had a smaller representation at COP26. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic challenges only a few PSIDS countries attended the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, while others were represented by their overseas missions. Similar to the PSIDS countries that were not able to participate in the face-to-face event at Glasgow, the USP student participants, to enable a more coordinated approach, joined the virtual sessions from a central location at USP. Only two students participated from separate locations, one from Solomon Islands and one from New Zealand. Since COP26 was not organized as a hybrid event, the students were unable to join negotiations. However, despite the 12 hours’ time difference, they managed to follow various discussions and side events during the COP26 period. This year’s COP26 saw both wins and losses in the fight against climate change. Some of the promising outcomes included the finalization of the Paris Rulebook, more financial pledges made towards developing countries to combat climate change, strengthening the plans for countries towards limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and for the first time, discussions on phasing out/down of coal were recorded in decision texts. Despite the agreements to work towards reducing emissions the world has a long way to go to keep to the 1.5 degrees target.
PACRES supported six student participants, three women and three men, for COP 25 in Madrid, Spain over 25 November–13 December 2019. These participants were citizens of, and formed part of the following Pacific Delegations: Fiji, Solomon Islands and Tonga. These participants were supported by a six-member backstopping team based in Suva, Fiji. On 9 March 2020, PACRES USP organised a post-COP seminar for the PACRES supported student participants. At the seminar the participants shared their experiences at COP 25 in Madrid, Spain. Representatives from the EU, H.E. Mr. Sujiro Seam, Ambassador to the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific and H.E. Mr. Daniel Montilla, Charge de affaires, Embassy of Spain, were among the seminar audience.
A total of 25 participants, 16 women and nine men, were trained on COP processes during a three-day training session, held from 15–17 October 2019, at USP’s Statham Campus, Suva, Fiji. The Pre-COP Training session was officially opened by His Excellency Mr. Sujiro Seam, Ambassador, Delegation of the EU for the Pacific, on 15 October 2019. Among those present at the opening event were, the Intra-ACP GCCA+ PACRES project COP 25 participants, Prof. Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research & Innovation, USP, Ms. Deborah Sue, Director Forest Resource Assessment & Conservation, Fiji Ministry of Forestry, EU representatives for the Intra-ACP GCCA+ PACRES project, the USP PACRES team, SPC, USP representatives of the GCCA+ Scaling-up Pacific Adaptation (SUPA) project, representatives of USP Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme (PEUMP) project, and Civil Society Organisations (CSO). A range of topics were covered during the training including Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) priorities for COP 25, climate policy, climate science, COP structure and processes, communication and visibility. The training sessions were facilitated by 15 professionals, six females and nine males.
In addition, PACRES USP supported two participants to attend the IMPACT meeting and training, in Apia Samoa from 5–7 November 2019. This Pacific Pre-COP Meeting, convened by SPREP prior to the COP events, provided a platform for Pacific negotiators to formulate a negotiation plan for the COP events. The IMPACT meeting provided an opportunity for Ms. Linda Vaike and Mr. Sione Folau to get acquainted with knowledge on multilateral climate change negotitations, which they shared with their fellow USP PACRES COP 25 participants.