Why the Summit?



Posted on 15 October 2012  | 
Mangroves Art
© WWF-South Pacific Enlarge
Academics, researchers, project managers, practitioners, government, community representatives and resource owners gathered at the Labasa Town Hall in Fiji from the 23rd to the 25th of October for the first ever ‘National Summit for Building Resilience to Climate Change.

The summit is spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature South Pacific, GIZ, University of the South Pacific’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (USP PACE-SD), Department of Environment, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Primary Industries (Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests).

Director Political and Treaties Division Esala Nayasi said the support from partners was encouraging.

At least 200 people – practitioners, scientists and community members arrived at the town hall to share their initiatives, experiences and lessons to better understand the nation’s status in adapting to climate change.

Along with addressing existing gaps, the Summit also deliberated on the need for increased climate change awareness and explore opportunities that would add value to existing in-country knowledge and strategies on adaptation.

It will also look at disaster risk reduction, as well as identify management policy and approaches to address climate change challenges and threats.

WWF South Pacific's AusAID Building Resilience Project National Coordinator Stephanie Robinson said that the Summit is timely because Fiji launched its first Climate Change Policy earlier this year.

“The Summit again thrusts the issue of climate change into the public eye especially in light of the recent extreme weather conditions we have been facing in Fiji and the devastation it brings with it,” Robinson said.

"It is hoped that rather than paint a bleak picture of the future, the Summit highlighted the positive actions that projects, individuals and communities are taking to adapt to a changing climate as well as encourage collaboration, strengthen efforts and streamline resources towards building a resilient Fiji.


A comprehensive media entourage funded by the USP PACE-SD participated and provided coverage for the summit to ensure information was disseminated as widely as possible and journalists were also provided an opportunity hear about the cross cutting issues of climate change in one setting.

Key outcomes of the summit will be incorporated into national climate change strategies in broadening the scope of effective community collaboration at public-municipal-provincial and district level as required under the Fiji National Climate Change Policy.
 
Mangroves Art
© WWF-South Pacific Enlarge
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Director Political and Treaties Esala Nayasi briefs members of the Fijian press on the Summit
© WWF-South Pacific Enlarge
WWF South Pacific Conservation Director Sally Bailey explains the importance of holding a Summit on climate change at Labasa town to engage communities that are also affected by climate change
© WWF-South Pacific Enlarge
Members of the Fiji media
© WWF-South Pacific Enlarge
AusAid Building Resilience project booth at the Agriculture Show held in Lautoka earlier this year
© WWF-South Pacific Enlarge