Thoughts from Ben, a CAN LDP fellow in Doha

 

(photo credit: IISD)

My name is Ben Namakin, and I come from the small island state of Kiribati in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This is a place in which, along with our other pacific islands neighbors, we contribute less than 0.001% to the global greenhouse gas emissions; sadly, we are currently paying the price for global emissions with rising sea levels, droughts and saltwater intrusion contaminating our groundwater.

Kiribati was the first place to ring in the new millennium in 2000 and will also likely be the first state to be shown on international news as being underwater. What steps should those in our region take? We may be small, but we are not insignificant.

I am fortunate to be a Leadership Development Program (LDP) fellow for CAN International, which gives me the opportunity to increase my knowledge and skills on the issues, especially at the United Nations negotiation level. We are doing as possible to adapt to climate change: raising awareness on the issues of our people, building sea walls to prevent coastal erosion, and working on other adaptation activities. Despite this work, we still need to make our voice be heard at international negotiations! We must express the concerns of vulnerable communities to the leaders of the world, who claim they make decisions on behalf of us. Here I would like to highlight those of the developed states.

I am here in Doha, Qatar with 7 LDP fellows from various parts of the world following the UNFCCC COP18 negotiations. We all come from the South, and represent the most vulnerable parts of the world to climate change impacts. Though few in numbers, we try to cover the different issues that most concern us, such as mitigation, equity, finance, sustainable development goals and adaptation.

My focus is on adaptation, given the situation faced by those of Kiribati today. We are indeed in need of support for adaptation mechanisms that will ensure the survival of my people. My expectations here concentrate mostly on the call for international mechanisms for loss and damage, for adaptation committees as well as developed countries raising their ambitions on both finance and mitigation.

I want us to leave Doha with an outcome in which the role of the adaptation committees is well arranged so that they will function appropriately. I would also like to see arrangements under loss and damages adopted with concrete mechanisms for all LDC countries, including easy access to funding mechanisms for implementing national adaptation plans. What we want out of this gathering in Doha is not pretext of commitment, but real commitment.