Tag: Pacific Islands

My Kiribati Experience

Pelenise Alofa
Kiribati Climate Action Network

The Kiribati Climate Action Network (KiriCAN), which is comprised of many youth and women groups in Kiribati, is the first CC NGO established in Kiribati. KiriCAN was originally organized by the Pacific Calling Partnership based in Sydney, who is our working partner today. For the last three years, we have been busy doing awareness-raising, adaptation, negotiation and conference participation. We believe that CC is cross-cutting and does not have boundaries, so we work together with governments and opposition leaders. I do most of the international campaigns and negotiations while my colleagues do the national ones.  Our ground team is wonderful and enthusiastic. Every month we have an international media team visiting Kiribati to report our stories. All media is welcome because we believe that our voices should be heard far and wide and must reach the whole world. We also learned that not all media is to be trusted!

KiriCAN has had the privilege to attend LDC, CommonWealth, Pacific Forum and regional meetings speaking on behalf of the Pacific people on CC issues and has attended three UN Climate Talks (COPs). Furthermore, KiriCAN has also had the privilege to participate international campaigns. The first international campaign was done in Australia and NZ (our closest neighbours) and the message was  “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  We also went on a tour of Europe: Belgium, Spain and Austria and spent a short time in the US.

One of the highlights of the KiriCAN activities in Kiribati was our involvement with the Tarawa Climate Change Conference held November 2010 organised by the government.  KiriCAN organized a two days workshop prior to the conference and organized a rally/march in support of the Kiribati government during the conference. More than 1000 people from NGOs and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) turned up to support this rally. This was funded by WWF, 350.org and PIANGO (Pacific Islands Association of NGOs).
Today, the KiriCAN Youth participating doing the Water Harvesting Awareness (Adaptation) programs around Tarawa being funded by NZAid and we continue to visit the outer islands to conduct CC Awareness. It’s been great and satisfying working with grassroots and seeing the joy when you show that you care for their wellbeing and development. I could never trade this occupation for something else.

Related Member Organization: 

My Bonn, Germany Experience!!!

Pelenise Alofa
Kiribati Climate Action Network

It was my first time in Germany!  My first experience (frustrating) at the airport trying to find my way to my hotel in Bonn.  My first experience with the CAN International Southern Capacity Building at the UNFCCC. It was also my first experience to be robbed. Mona Matepi (Cook Islander) and I bought ice cream and later when I looked for my purse, it was gone.  Someone had pick pocketed me while shopping! Well, there will always be the first time for everybody but Bonn was a multiple of first experiences for me.

But not all is gloomy…..Bonn, was actually the beginning of exciting experiences. Our first meeting with the lovely young people in the SCB team was wonderful and exciting. Each person came from different parts of the Global South and each was able to take up his/her responsibility with enthusiasm and professionalism.  It was not my first time attending CAN-International sessions, but it was my first time to be involved with CAN-International as a participating member.  Things began to fall into perspective and to make sense.  During the previous CAN-I sessions I’ve attended…I was always confused when people gave reports because I did not know the procedures.  I was thankful for the opportunity to attend as a Southern Capacity Building member.

Yes, the UNFCCC could be very confusing and frustrating. It was like being in a marketplace (too much fuss and bustle), but everyone does one business: negotiation. But thanks to the advices and counsels provided by Gaines (during orientation) and the CAN-I Secretariat things became more clear.

I was supposed to do REDD+ and Capacity Building.  I ended up following most of the Capacity Building because, deep in my heart, I know that this is the key issue to help my people in the Pacific.  Working with Mona, Mamady and Pat was extremely valuable and rewarding. Pat is a well-experienced leader who knows the ins and outs of the Capacity Building issue.  I realized that Capacity Building (CB) was not treated as a major issue, but integrated into almost every other Climate Change (CC) issue. We ended up drawing a plan of action calling that CB should be developed in each CC window, and that funding should be spent on building capacity in developed and developing countries to meet local mitigation and adaptation needs.

Could Capacity Building lead to our Survival in the Pacific?
The impacts of CC have been seen and felt in our islands for many years, but our relationship to CC was not known.  When our coastal lands were eroded and line of trees fell, when our well water became saltier, when sea water intruded into our gardens, when it rained too much at the wrong time of the  year, when there was drought for too long, when our fishes got washed up dead on our shores, when the king tides swept over the island like a tidal wave, we wondered, do we need science to explain CC to us? We live in it day by day. Actually, today, it is part of our lives and we learn to adapt to the impacts as they come. In fact, we have stronger evidence or and stronger voices today to support us at the negotiation arena. We provide the facts of the impacts of CC while science explains the causes and effects and how they are related.
But CC is not just the science, the cause and effect.  It also involves negotiations, commitment, passion and time.  Most Pacific islanders have the passion and time, but not the negotiation skills. The lack of negotiation skills stems from a culture of sharing. We share the fruits of our land freely, thus land ownership is very important to us. Our survival depends on our lands and oceans, which provide our livelihood. We do not sell anything to our neighbors because selling is contradictory to sharing. The reality is that we lack the negotiation skills because negotiation goes beyond the boundary of our culture. The only negotiation we know is based on trust. We want people to trust us and vice versa. But alas, we are waking up to the fact that we live in a global village where everyone thinks differently and lives by different values. We are taught to give from the heart, but today we are in a world that sells, bargains, gambles, negotiates, etc.  What’s more, we are negotiating on a major crucial issue…the survival of our people. It is scary, terrifying and mind-boggling! It’s like jumping to the moon to bring it down to earth! Do we stand a chance to survive? I am sure we can, if we take capacity building seriously…by learning the skills of negotiations at a global level and integrate capacity building in every aspect of CC.

The Laughing Corner – A typical Kiribati Negotiation or Business Deal
I will try to explain a business or negotiation humor conducted in a typical Kiribati style. As I explained earlier, negotiation or business (selling) is not part of our culture.  An expatriate family was ready to leave Kiribati permanently after serving in the islands for four years so decided to hold a garage sale before leaving. This was completely new to the islanders but nevertheless, many people went to buy all the second hand things for sale. At the end of the day, two women came along to buy, but there was nothing left except two cats (ex-pat’s pets) and according to the ex-pat, one of the cats was pregnant which means, whoever buys it will make money by selling the kittens. One of the ladies spent her $50 on the two cats and carried them home.  Her husband was anxious to see what she bought but was very angry when he found that she bought two cats. He was upset because their house was already full of cats and dogs and having a pregnant cat would make it worse.  And furthermore, they cannot sell the kittens because no one sells animals (pets) in the islands.

Why did the lady buy the cats?  Simple answer, she wanted to help. She was shocked that the expat family was selling their goods including animals, which mean that they were really, really in need of money. The I-Kiribati was ready to help by buying everything including their pets even though they did not need these. The motive for buying was not to acquire and to accumulate goods, but rather to help someone who was in need. Do you think that we islanders have a chance at international negotiations with this attitude? Talk about cross culture!!!

Related Member Organization: 

Farewell Bonn, Hello… Who Knows?

At the time ECO went to press, we’d heard all sorts of rumors about where the next intersessional might be: Panama, Bangkok, Mars? But despite this week’s lunar eclipse, our thoughts are firmly earthbound. ECO is confident that parties can see the sense in holding another intersessional, including workshops, technical negotiations, and the resumed sessions of the two AWGs. But, dear delegates, please leave behind the tedious haggling-over-the-agenda sessions. An additional meeting must be used productively so that Durban has a better chance of delivering the basis for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement. 

First, developed countries must acknowledge there is no alternative to a Kyoto Protocol second commitment period. Period.

We deplore the current stance taken by Japan, Canada and Russia. The hypocrisy is staggering. Japan presided over the COP that produced the KP. Russia’s support for the KP brought the treaty into force. Canada deftly launched the negotiations for a second commitment period (CP2) in Montreal. Where are those climate ambitions now?

The rest of the pack – the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland – used Bonn to elaborate their conditions for joining a KP CP2. We expect these countries to declare their full support for extending Kyoto’s commitments beyond 2012, and to come to Durban with pledges that top their current commitments. The world shouldn’t accept anything less!

The unvarnished truth, however, is that what is on the table now is not going to deliver a safe climate. Even the US has acknowledged that developed countries need to decarbonise their economies by 2050, based on low-carbon development strategies; as agreed in Cancún. These low carbon development strategies should contain a 2050 decarbonization goal, a plan to get there, and initial reduction targets of more than 40% by 2020, based on     common     accounting     rules     and

enhanced   national   communications  and biennial reporting as essential ingredients.

A second piece of the puzzle should be tackled by developing countries.

As AOSIS noted in their workshop presentation, developing countries also have a role to play in closing the gigatonne gap. ECO looks to all developing countries who have not yet submitted pledges to the UNFCCC or have not elaborated their plans further, including Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, DRC, Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It’s not on their shoulders alone. But they need to make it clear how they can reach their ambitions through a mix of supported and unsupported actions. 

The third major element of the Durban package is finance.

Finance negotiators have been hard at work on designing the Green Climate Fund and the Standing Committee. But all too many are missing the big picture: that the best-designed financial institutions in the world will be quite useless without substantial finance to govern. Concrete decisions must be made at COP17 to move us firmly onto a pathway to increase climate finance so as to reach $100bn per year by 2020, as committed by developed countries in Cancún.

Here in Bonn, the US has worked furiously to block much-needed discussions on all sources of finance, from budgetary contributions to supplementary innovative financing options such as bunkers, FTTs and SDRs. Discussion is also needed on common but differentiated responsibility for climate finance, no net incidence and compensation. We’re relieved to see some countries are asking for workshops to pave the way to a appropriately ramped-up 2013-2020 climate finance plan; all developed countries need to come to Durban prepared to put forward their mid-term financing commitments from 2013 onwards.

Finally, Durban must launch negotiations on a complementary legally binding agreement to Kyoto.

This agreement should address the major elements of the Bali Accord: comparable mitigation commitments by the United States, expanded financial commitments by developed countries, and developing country action.  Virtually every country says they support a legally binding agreement; in Durban, they must rise above their well-known differences on the exact form of such an agreement and commit to turning those words into action. 


A Slew of Fossils and Rays Awarded On Second to Last Day of Bonn Talks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  16 June 2011
Kyle Gracey
+1 814 659 2405

A Slew of Fossils and Rays Awarded On Second to Last Day of Bonn Talks

Bonn, Germany – With just over a day left in the United Nations climate change
negotiations here, countries showed they still have plenty of energy left to delay
progress in the fight against climate change, while other nations showed they
recognized how important civil society is in moving the negotiations forward.
Frequent “winner” Saudi Arabia took another Fossil, joined this time by a surprise
blocker, Antigua and Barbuda, for trying to diminish civil society's role in the talks.
Meanwhile, four nations and the European Union earned a rare Ray of the Day for
supporting the very same civil society groups. Both were overshadowed by the fossil
for Japan's renewed refusal to extend its namesake Kyoto Protocol.

The Fossils as presented read:

"The Second place Fossil goes to Saudi Arabia and Antigua and Barbuda for blocking
attempts to enhance NGO participation
. Saudi Arabia is a frequent winner of these
awards and really needs no explanation. They have a long history of blocking just
about everything from legal issues to adaptation, agendas to observer participation.
The Saudis should be isolated for their obstructionist ways and not allowed to dictate
text on this or any other issue. As for Antigua & Barbuda, it breaks our heart to give
your individual country the fossil, but to suggest that we would be moving too fast to
allow NGOs to make interventions without submitting written statements in advance
is just ridiculous! In the fight against climate change, speed is of the essence! For
prompting a lack of engagement and transparency, you two get the fossil!"

"Japan earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday, we heard again Japan’s well known
position that it will not inscribe a target under a second period of the Kyoto Protocol
under ANY circumstance. It is very regrettable that we see no room for flexibility.
The Kyoto Protocol second commitment period is the heart of a Durban package and
Japan’s unchanged position will jeopardize the success of the Durban meeting.
Market mechanisms, which Japan favors so much, may not be used anymore if Japan
doesn’t have a target under the Kyoto Protocol. Is this really OK, Japan? Lack of a
target under the international legal framework would weaken implementation of
domestic policies and actions and lose international competitiveness in a low carbon
economy. We don’t really understand."  

"The Ray of the Day goes to a group of countries who have stood strong for
transparency in the face of attacks from countries hoping to hide behind closed doors.
They clearly recognize the productive and important role NGOs play in this process

and have done all they can to suggest improvements, propose compromises, and shine
a light on this process in the hopes of supporting not only civil society but in so doing
also the global effort to address climate change. On a side note, if more Parties had
similar positions on transparency to these, perhaps we could avoid protracted fights
on agendas and other matters in the future, simply in order to avoid embarrassment.
For these actions in support of transparency, accountability and civil society, we
award this Ray of the Day to the EU, Mexico, Bolivia, Philippines, and Australia."
About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and
individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable
levels. www.climatenetwork.org

About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate
talks in 1999  in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations
climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action
Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress
in the negotiations in the last days of talks.



Little or Small is Beautiful!!!

Pelenise Alofa
Kiribati Climate Action Network

A world without Pacific Islands?  Could we imagine or dream that we could live without the Pacific?  Could we afford such injustice?  The Pacific CAN and its national nodes, such as Kiribati, were borne out of this conscience to protect the rights of people of the Pacific and the whole world.  Kiribati has a right to develop.
Kiribati Climate Action Network has more than 50 NGOs and CBOs working together to save Kiribati.  Our dynamic team has been active in the following activities: international & domestic advocacy, capacity building workshops, and awareness-raising programs in Tarawa and all the way to the outer islands.  The challenge we face is the lack of funding to reach all islands. Kiribati has 33 islands all scattered within more than 2000 square miles of water!   

Our people are resilient but they need capacity to help them to adapt to the ongoing challenges they face every day.  They have a right to own their lands and to their culture.  This is our biggest threat and fear – resettlement! Our dignity comes from owning our own land, which our ancestors and forefathers have kept and passed on to us.  We are nothing without our lands….we would become second class citizens!  Even though our lands are small, they have given us everything in the past and present, and we are satisfied.  We have witnessed families moving away from their homes because of water salination and coastal erosion.   We have witnessed a whole village drinking brakish or contaminated water.  We have sent out an SOS messages to provide water tanks to these people immediately but what’s the use of the water tank when there is NO rain?  People will die of thirst before the rain comes!

Without the extended family culture that we embrace today, many people will be homeless. The impacts of climate change have put strain on families who are caring for their extended families.  In the past, caring for one and another does not put strain as people can return to their own homes or land but today, our extended families have no where to go; they are with us permanently!

Today, KiriCAN is working on water and sanitation projects in communities. We assist the Kiribati Adaptation Project office to reach communities and our funding comes from NZAid.  We provide awareness on the best way to conduct water harvesting and waste management.  Our people have a right to clean water and to a clean environment.

I thank CAN-I for helping to build capacity for our leaders to improve the quality of their work in supporting the Pacific Islands.  NOW let us join hands to raise the voice of the global conscience from Bonn! Let us give precedence to the shared values of humanity over our POLITICAL and ECONOMIC goals!!!

CAN position - HFC-23 abatement projects - Jun 2011

Following the request by the Conference of the Parties (COP)1 the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), will discuss options to address the implications of the establishment of new HCFC-22 facilities seeking to obtain Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) for the destruction of HFC-23. CAN strongly urges delegates to adopt option 1) Making new HCFC-22 facilities ineligible under the CDM.



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