Pre-COP Training for USP students

15 October 2019

Preparations for the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP 25) in Chile at the end of the year is underway at the University of the South Pacific’s main campus in Suva through the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development’s (PaCE-SD) project.

Under the project Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) the three day pre COP training was officially opened by the European Union Head of Delegation for the Pacific, Ambassador Sujiro Seam at the University’s marine campus in Laucala.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Seam shared three empowering messages to the emerging young climate leaders.

He said that the Pacific has demonstrated incredible leadership in the fight against Climate Change.

“We saw that in the region and we also saw that on the international stage. The role of Pacific leaders on climate change is also well recognised on the international stage. We had a climate summit in New York where the Pacific leaders had a strong voice. The reason why the Pacific has a strong voice is because we are the one of most exposed to climate change,” said Ambassador Seam.

“The legitimacy and credibility of the Pacific Islanders on the issue comes from firsthand experience.”

Ambassador Seam acknowledged the contributions made by Pacific island leaders and youth and at the same time highlighted the Eurpean Union’s contributions in the global fight against climate change.

“The European Union does its fair share in its fight against climate change and have contributed to 40 per cent of the world climate funding.”

“We are the number one funder and contributor because we recongnise voice,” he said.

He added that there is no such thing as back benchers in the climate change negotiation.

“We don’t go to climate change meetings to sit and listen but to be the voice on behalf of the Pacific. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are young. Learn your stuff and prepare well to have a meaningful discussion,” said Ambassador Seam.

The USP pre COP training aims at preparing eight USP staff and students, a backstopping team comprising six USP student on COP processes for COP 25.

This three-day pre COP training was facilitated by a range of experts from the Fiji Government’s Climate Change Division,, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), USP (A’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development’s academic staff and colleagues from the Institute of Marine Research), civil society organisations and media personnel. The training wrapped up with a planning session for the COP 25.

USP’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Derrick Armstrong welcomed Ambassador Seam and other invited guest to USP.

Prof Armstrong congratulated staff and students selected through the selection process and thanked EU for the on- going support under the EU-funded Intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) Project.

In partnership with USP the European Union (EU) supports the participation of young leaders of the Pacific to the COP25 because the emerging young leaders are the future of the region and the most threatened by climate change.

“USP continues to build capacity of young climate change leaders in the Pacific Island countries. This year, through the EU-funded Intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) Project, six USP staff and students will support three Pacific Island countries; Fiji, Solomon Islands and Tonga at the Santiago COP 25 meeting in Chile, from 2–13 December 2019,” said Professor Armstrong.

Prof Armstrong added that the PACRES project will also support two participants for the SPREP-led negotiator training in Apia, Samoa from November 5 – 8, 2019, and two participants for the pre-sessional period in Santiago in Chile from November 25 – 30, 2019.

Solomon Island student, Stephen Simon, a climate change postgraduate student said the three day pre COP training was timely and informative.

Simon will be joining the Solomon Islands delegation and COP 25 will be his first COP meeting.

“I am very excited to be part of my country’s delegation to COP 25 and the pre-COP training has given me an insight into what is expected at COP meetings,” Simon said

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