Pacific hub on climate action officially opened
A central hub in the region focusing on the Pacific’s effort to curb carbon emissions has been officially opened in Fiji this week.
The Regional Pacific Nationally Determined Contributions (N.D.C.) Hub has been under development since November 2017.
It is supposed to facilitate Pacific Island countries in actually achieving their goals under the Paris Agreement to reduce their carbon emissions by a committed to amount.
The Hub will improve each countries contribution, develop plans to actualise those commitments and leverage financing to make it happen.
The launch will be welcome news to Samoa, which has pledged under its N.D.C.s to generate 100 per cent of all electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025.
With five years to go, Samoa is at risk of remaining reliant on diesel energy without a significant boost in solar power, with most hydropower options at capacity, an analysis by National University of Samoa lecturer Tupuivao Vaiaso found.
When Samoa first made its commitment in 2014, Samoa was generating just 26 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, and the energy sector was contributing 13 per cent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Already then, Samoa knew how much help it needed to make this dream a reality.
“International support is necessary to ensuring the low emission pathway chosen by the electricity subsector is achieved,” the N.D.C. document submitted to the United Nations states.
“The potential for economy‐wide emissions reduction is conditional on assistance provided to other sectors such as transport, agriculture, forestry and waste.
“These sectors have set in place plans and strategies to reduce emissions; however, implementation is a common problem across all sectors due to limited human, financial and technical resources.”
Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama officially opened the hub at a ceremony in Fiji, alongside visiting United Kingdom Commonwealth Envoy Philip Parham, who is spending three days in Samoa this week.
Mr. Parham is on a tour of the Pacific to work with countries on the decisions made by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (C.H.O.G.M.) in London in 2018 and climate change initiatives like the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance.
The United Kingdom is hosting the next international negotiations on climate change (the 26th Conference of the Parties (C.O.P.26) and the Paris Agreement in December, and the next CHOGM is in Rwanda in June.
Both have been touted as opportunities to generate ambitious action against the rapid deterioration of the earth’s atmosphere.
As chair of an early meeting on the Hub in 2018, Chief Executive Officer of Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Ulu Bismarck Crawley said the Pacific Island N.D.C.s show the world they are leading the way on the global challenge of climate change.
“Climate change is a global challenge – and collective challenges require a collective response as it is having an outsized and immediate impact on the Pacific, even though the region’s contribution to greenhouse gasses is insignificant.
“Nonetheless, the Pacific region has shown in their NDCs they are ready to lead by example given the urgency,” he said.
The Hub has been funded to the tune of €2.1 million (T$6.1 million) from the United Kingdom, Australian and German Governments.
It is partnership between Pacific Island Countries and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbiet (G.I.Z.) GmbH, the Global Green Growth Institute (G.G.G.I.), the N.D.C. Partnership Support Unit (N.D.C.P. S.U.), the Pacific Community (S.P.C.), and the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.).