Mr Knut Ostby - Launch Address of the Pacific Solution Exchange: Climate Change and Development community
STRICT EMBARGO 6PM - Tuesday 22 November, 2011
Mr Knut Ostby
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative
Launch of the Pacific Solution Exchange: Climate Change and Development community
Suva, 22 November 2011
Excellencies, distinguished representatives of Pacific island countries and Development Partners, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for taking the time this afternoon to join us in launching the Climate Change and Development community of the Pacific Solution Exchange.
At UNDP we believe that solutions to development challenges are found by different actors working together to tackle problems. The Pacific Solution Exchange: Climate Change and Development community brings together development professionals in these fields, with the aim of practical problem solving.
Challenges of climate change
With every passing year, the challenge that climate change presents to the Pacific grows. This is not only in relation to extreme weather events or rising sea levels, but also in terms of development and economic growth, and more broadly, the long term sustainability of Pacific Island Countries.
Climate change was a main theme of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s recent visit to the region. In a joint statement with Pacific Forum Leaders he (quote):
“Stressed that climate change and ocean acidification remained the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific; and reaffirmed the need for urgent international action to reduce emissions commensurate with the science and associated impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on the most vulnerable Pacific communities and peoples.”
(end of quote)
The organizations represented in this room already support efforts to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change in the Pacific. There are already a large number of projects and activities addressing climate change by Pacific Governments, development partners, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector at community, national and regional levels.
Coordination and information sharing
Many have asked the obvious question: How can we be sure that all these activities are pulling in the same direction? How can we be sure that they build on each other and do not reinvent the wheel?
The challenge now is improving cooperation and integration – addressing the need to draw on best practice as well as the lessons learnt from less successful ventures from within the region and outside. Development effectiveness principles commit partners to ‘coordinate, simplify procedures and share information to avoid duplication.’
Today we are launching a service that we believe will assist practitioners to do this. The Pacific Solution Exchange network links climate change practitioners and professionals across the Pacific, and outside the region.
For example, if you are working on a project for climate resilient agriculture in Fiji and you want to know what other comparable countries have done, this service is the place to ask the question. You will get responses from the Pacific and other parts of the world. Responses could come from governments who have already started similar projects. They could also come from expert practitioners, NGOs, or community groups who have learned valuable lessons as they implement climate resilient projects.
The Pacific Solution Exchange is facilitated and moderated by our team here in Suva, and it offers a number of tailored services to enable members to share knowledge, innovative ideas and practical experiences to help solve problems.
We believe that being able to offer advice based on experience, in an open and free way can help lead to solving immediate problems and add to a body of Pacific knowledge of climate change and development.
In the Human Development Report on Sustainability and Equity launched earlier this month, locally managed marine areas in Pacific Island communities, such as those in Fiji, have been identified as successful and equitable models of managing natural resources. We hope that through the Pacific Solution Exchange many more good practices from the Pacific can be shared in the global arena.
Collaboration & the PSE trial
Some of you here today would have participated in the trial of the Pacific Solution Exchange, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your contribution to start this community.
I also wish to thank our partners at the Asian Development Bank, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the University of the South Pacific. They have been collaborating with us from the start in the Pacific Solution Exchange project and have also contributed to this trial.
Many thanks are also due to Australia who have helped with funding.
We learned some valuable lessons from the trial, and were given an insight into the breadth of Pacific knowledge. My thanks to those who shared their experiences, and gave us the feedback to develop the more targeted Climate Change and Development community that we launch here today.
The Pacific Solution Exchange is not a magic bullet for climate change in the region, but it is a tool that enables us all to work better together for this common goal. Knowledge is power. Through the Solutions Exchange we are sharing knowledge – we are sharing power. I invite you all to take part in the power that this tool gives us, and to use it for a sustainable future for the Pacific Island Countries.
Thank you very much.