Samoa will host the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Global Conference 2014. At a New York reception held at the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Nauru, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea, Chair of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) and other Pacific representatives, agreed that Samoa will host the SIDS Global Conference in 2014 and Fiji will host the preparatory meetings for the conference. [Photo: Stuart Chape] Read More
Pacific ocean, home to bacterial communities
Manumea nears extinction
Pacific Scoop: The situation is so dire for Samoa’s native species, that some scientists estimate the head count at less than 200. The manumea, or tooth-billed pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris), is listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature red list of globally threatened species. According to the terms of this list, if no action is taken to halt the decline in populations of these unique species, it is expected that they will become extinct. During the recent rapid biodiversity assessment (BioRap Assessment) in uplands Savai’i, a group of scientists were airlifted to the top of Mt Silisili where they camped for almost two weeks to survey and assess the situation of flora and fauna in the uplands of Savai’i. Read More
New report offers insights into climate change in Samoa
Samoa to host SIDS Global Conference 2014
New Insight Into Climate Change in the Pacific
ScienceDaily — New research providing critical information about how climate change is affecting Australia's Pacific island neighbours and East Timor has just been released by the Australian Government's Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP). [Photo: Stuart Chape] The landmark, peer-reviewed publication, Climate Change in the Pacific: Scientific Assessment and New Research, presents the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date of climate change in the Pacific region.
Co-editor of the report, the Bureau of Meteorology's Dr Scott Power, said the findings would be presented at an event during the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference being held from next week in Durban, South Africa.Read More
Lack of Sleep Is Linked to Obesity, New Evidence Shows
ScienceDaily (Apr. 17, 2012) — Can lack of sleep make you fat? A new paper which reviews the evidence from sleep restriction studies reveals that inadequate sleep is linked to obesity. The research, published in a special issue of the The American Journal of Human Biology, explores how lack of sleep can impact appetite regulation, impair glucose metabolism and increase blood pressure. More Here
Samoas energy advances highlighted in Barbados
By Cherelle Jackson
BRIDGETOWN: Advances made by Samoa on renewable energy measures were highlighted this week in Barbados at the High-Level Conference of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Titled: “Achieving Sustainable Energy for All,” the meeting brought together participants from SIDS energy and environment sectors, which included three delegates from Samoa.
Speaking to the conference yesterday, Taito Faale Tumaali Faamoetauloa, Minister of Natural Resource and Environment (MNRE) emphasised on the progress made by Samoa in ensuring sustainable energy. Read More.
Tokelau aims for 100% renewable energy in 2012
Pacific Island Countries are among the most petroleum-dependent nations and territories in the world. However, Tokelau, a group of 3 small atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, will be the first to meet its electricity needs entirely through renewable energy by the end of 2012.
Tokelau has a total land area of 10 square kilometres and a population of around 1400. Its small size, isolation and lack of natural resources are all restraints on its development. Worse, it has to spend approximately NZ$1million (approx. US$ 800,000) annually on imported fossil fuels.
In 2001, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) started to work with the Taupulega’s – the village councils on each atoll - in the area of sustainable energy. With funding and technical assistance from UNDP, the first Tokelau National Energy Policy and Strategic Action Plan was endorsed by the government in 2004. Its primary objective was to make Tokelau energy independent through the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. In partnership with France, New Zealand and UNESCO, UNDP supported various preparatory work including resource assessment, feasibility and design studies and the implementation of a solar system pilot demonstration. The organization contributed around US$450,000 and significant technical support during 11 years. Recently the Government of Tokelau succeeded in leveraging approximately NZ$8.5 million (US$ 6.8 million) in grants and soft loans from New Zealand for the project.
The new solar plant is planned to become operational in September 2012.. Around 4,032 solar panels and batteries will be installed across all the three atolls of Tokelau, making the plant one of the largest standalone solar system in the world. The plant will provide 24-hour high quality electricity supply for all islanders, eliminating diesel use, and even produce surplus electricity to allow Tokelaunans to expand on their energy use.
During periods of prolonged cloud cover generators that run on coconut oil will supply power and simultaneously recharge the battery bank.
This hybrid solar-coconut oil system will enable Tokelau to be self-reliant for its electricity needs and be more energy secure, and set it on a carbon-free development path. It will also create employment opportunities and help the local population generate additional income. More importantly, the amount spent annually on the import of fossil fuel will be spared to support social benefits for the islanders.
Tokelau’s ambitious goal could not be achieved without the sustained commitment of the government supported by its development partners, including UNDP. The government’s long-term determination has been pivotal in overcoming barriers along the way – such as the 25-30 hours boat journey from Samoa to Tokelau to transport materials and other resources.
Tokelau will be the first Small Island Developing State to obtain 100% renewable energy by 2012, while Tuvalu and Cook Islands aim at 2020.
UNCSD Prep Comm Pacific meets in Samoa
The UN Conference for Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) Subregional Preparatory Committee for Pacific Countries, convened in Apia, Samoa, on 22 July.
During the morning session participants discussed global and Pacific regional preparations for Rio+20. Participants then considered green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, focusing on greening the economy in a blue world.
During the afternoon session participants examined institutional frameworks for implementing sustainable development in the Pacific region. Delegates heard presentations on national institutional frameworks for sustainable development, resources for transforming economies, including through climate financing, and on regional partnerships.
During the closing session, UN ESCAP introduced an outcome document containing recommendations on the green economy and IFSD. Delegates agreed to adopt the document “in principle,” noting countries could provide comments until 30 July 2011. The meeting closed at 4:49pm. (ENB)
On Nauru, a Sinking Feeling
By MARCUS STEPHEN - NEW YORK TIMES
Published: July 18, 2011
Yaren, Nauru - I forgive you if you have never heard of Nauru — but you will not forgive yourselves if you ignore our story. At just 8 square miles, about a third of the size of Manhattan, and located in the southern Pacific Ocean, Nauru appears as merely a pinpoint on most maps — if it is not missing entirely in a vast expanse of blue.
But make no mistake; we are a sovereign nation, with our own language, customs and history dating back 3,000 years. Nauru is worth a quick Internet search, I assure you, for not only will you discover a fascinating country that is often overlooked, you will find an indispensible cautionary tale about life in a place with hard ecological limits.
Phosphate mining, first by foreign companies and later our own, cleared the lush tropical rainforest that once covered our island’s interior, scarring the land and leaving only a thin strip of coastline for us to live on. The legacy of exploitation left us with few economic alternatives and one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and led previous governments to make unwise investments that ultimately squandered our country’s savings.
I am not looking for sympathy, but rather warning you what can happen when a country runs out of options. The world is headed down a similar path with the relentless burning of coal and oil, which is altering the planet’s climate, melting ice caps, making oceans more acidic and edging us ever closer to a day when no one will be able to take clean water, fertile soil or abundant food for granted.
Climate change also threatens the very existence of many countries in the Pacific, where the sea level is projected to rise three feet or more by the end of the century. Already, Nauru’s coast, the only habitable area, is steadily eroding, and communities in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have been forced to flee their homes to escape record tides. The low-lying nations of Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands may vanish entirely within our grandchildren’s lifetimes.
Similar climate stories are playing out on nearly every continent, where a steady onslaught of droughts, floods and heat waves, which are expected to become even more frequent and intense with climate change, have displaced millions of people and led to widespread food shortages.
The changes have already heightened competition over scarce resources, and could foreshadow life in a world where conflicts are increasingly driven by environmental catastrophes.
Yet the international community has not begun to prepare for the strain they will put on humanitarian organizations or their implications for political stability around the world.
In 2009, an initiative by the Pacific Small Island Developing States, of which I am chairman, prompted the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the link between climate change and security. But two years later, no concrete action has been taken.
So I was pleased to learn that the United Nations Security Council will take up the issue tomorrow in an open debate, in which I will have the opportunity to address the body and reiterate my organization’s proposals.
First, the Security Council should join the General Assembly in recognizing climate change as a threat to international peace and security. It is a threat as great as nuclear proliferation or global terrorism. Second, a special representative on climate and security should be appointed. Third, we must assess whether the United Nations system is itself capable of responding to a crisis of this magnitude.
The stakes are too high to implement these measures only after a disaster is already upon us. Negotiations to reduce emissions should remain the primary forum for reaching an international agreement. We are not asking for blue helmets to intervene; we are simply asking the international community to plan for the biggest environmental and humanitarian challenge of our time.
Nauru has begun an intensive program to restore the damage done by mining, and my administration has put environmental sustainability at the center of our policymaking. Making our island whole again will be a long and difficult process, but it is our home and we cannot leave it for another one.