WASHINGTON, DC: Two global civil society organizations, Conservation International (CI) and the World Wildlife Fund-US  (WWF-US) can now directly access funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under a decision welcomed today by the GEF's governing Council.
The decision marks an important milestone in the 22-year history of the GEF. For the first time, civil society organizations can directly access GEF funding for environmental projects without having to go through another GEF agency. The approval given to CI and WWF-US by an independent GEF Accreditation Panel comes after a rigorous assessment confirmed that they meet the GEF's fiduciary standards and environmental and social safeguards. A review process considering applications by other organizations to become GEF Project Agencies is underway. [Read More]

 

New report offers insights into climate change in Samoa

APIA: 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. The research was produced as part of the Australian Government’s three year Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP). The first volume of the report provides a regional overview. The second volume contains individual reports for 15 countries including a report on the past, current and possible future climate of Samoa. This was a collaborative effort between the Samoa Meteorology Division and Australian scientists. Read More

 

 

Samoa to host SIDS Global Conference 2014

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

 

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.

 

 

News

GEF grants first ever CSO funding

04/11/2013 23:29
WASHINGTON, DC, November 5, 2013-Two global civil society organizations, Conservation International  (CI) and the World Wildlife Fund-US  (WWF-US) can now directly access funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under a decision welcomed today by the GEF's governing...

Pacific ocean, home to bacterial communities

01/11/2013 00:49
Pacific ocean, home to bacterial communities   By Cherelle Jackson The ideallic image of the Pacific Ocean has been marred by the findings of a recent study by the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution at the University of Southern Denmark which indicate very active bacterial...

Traditional knowledge key to the adaptation in the Pacific

01/11/2013 00:38
By Cherelle Jackson APIA PEW: Adaptating to the impacts of climate change in the Pacific is not a new concept, in fact it’s deeply rooted in the cultures of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia whose ancient responses to changes in weather patterns have helped them adapt to the threats of climate...

Pacific needs a strategy at upcoming SIDS meeting

01/11/2013 00:38
By Cherelle Jackson APIA: Pacific Governments need to strategise the best way forward to ensure that the priorities of the region are part of the outcome of the upcoming SIDS meeting in Samoa next year. References to ‘transformational approach’ echoed throughout the Pacific preparatory meeting last...

Majuro Declaration signals Pacific discontent with climate negotiations

31/10/2013 09:08
By Cherelle Jackson APIA: The signing of the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership last month in the Marshall Islands by the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum has sent a strong signal of political discontent in the region over international climate negotiations. “Waiting for a new global...

Massive marine protected area is even a bigger sham

31/10/2013 03:50
By CHRISTOPHER PALA SALON.COM: Meet President Anote Tong of Kiribati, a Central Pacific country of three-dozen postcard-pretty coral atolls that may become uninhabitable someday because global warming is causing ocean levels to rise. Tong, 61, has been in power for a decade, during which time he...

Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership signals Pacific discontent with negotiations

20/10/2013 12:16
By Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson APIA: The discontent of Pacific leaders with the 'sluggish' progress made at international climate talks has lead to the endorsement of the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership by all members of the Pacific Islands Forum last month. The Declaration recognizes...

Fiji commended for its support to regional met services

02/07/2013 09:28
By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, member of the Pacific Media Team (SPREP/PACCSAP)   1 July 2013, Nadi Fiji - Fiji has been praised for its continued support in providing essential meteorological services to countries in the region.  The Deputy Director of the Secretariat...

Samoan Obesity Epidemic Starts at Birth

02/07/2013 09:27
    Science Daily June 5, 2013 — As some Pacific island cultures have "westernized" over the last several decades, among the changes has been a dramatic increase in obesity. Researchers don't understand all the reasons why, but even a decade ago in American Samoa 59 percent of men...

Manumea nears extinction

06/11/2012 12:39
  Pacific Scoop: Report – By Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson in Apia The manumea bird, which is endemic to Samoa, is feared to be near extinction after scientists failed to sight the species during a recent Savai’i uplands forest survey. The situation is so dire for Samoa’s native...

New insights into climate change in Samoa

06/11/2012 12:16
  MNRE/CSIRO: New research providing critical information about the climate of Samoa is being launched today by the Meteorology Division of the Ministry for Natural Resources and Environment. Hon. Fa’amoetauloa Taito Dr. Faale Tumaalii, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment will...

Samoa to host SIDS Global Conference 2014

06/11/2012 12:04
  Fiji has endorsed the Samoan Government’s hosting of the Small Island Developing States Global Conference in 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...

Samoan migrant communities in search for governance

14/09/2012 03:09
  By Cherelle Jackson Monika Pei and moved with her parents and her little brothers and sisters to Vaitele, Samoa, a village on the western side of Apia town, in 2007, along with her six younger siblings, in search of what she says is a better future in the town of Vaitele near Apia. Her...

Samoan migrant communities in search for governance

14/09/2012 03:09
  By Cherelle Jackson Monika Pei and moved with her parents and her little brothers and sisters to Vaitele, Samoa, a village on the western side of Apia town, in 2007, along with her six younger siblings, in search of what she says is a better future in the town of Vaitele near Apia. Her...

New Insight Into Climate Change in the Pacific

20/05/2012 09:12
ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2011) — 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). The landmark,...

Lack of Sleep Is Linked to Obesity, New Evidence Shows

20/05/2012 08:54
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...

Samoas energy advances highlighted in Barbados

08/05/2012 14:41
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...

Island Hoping: Are Reserves the Answer to Help Wildlife on the World's Sinking Archipelagos?

10/03/2012 10:04
EarthTalk: As global sea level rises, low-lying island nations must reckon how to cope not only with loss of agricultural acreage and increased vulnerability to storms, but also with reduced habitat for endemic species. Thanks to rising sea levels, land forms that sustain wildlife may no longer...
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