“We’re on cusp of new era”

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Leota Kosi Latu

Director General of S.P.R.E.P.

Remarks at Pacific Climate Change 

Centre Ground-Breaking

 

Thank you all for coming today. 

Today is a very special occasion for SPREP, because today we celebrate both the ground-breaking for both the new PCCC, and 25 years of SPREP’s move to Samoa. 

At the outset, I would like to acknowledge at this significant time the hugely important role that PM Tuilaepa has personally played firstly in the establishment of SPREP itself here in Samoa, and the provision of a place for SPREP to proudly stand in the Pacific among its Members, secondly, as the region’s foremost champion for the need of a Pacific Climate Change Centre, and thirdly as the principal host of the Centre, here in Samoa on the SPREP campus. 

Without your personal commitment and energy Prime Minister, we would not be standing here today. I would also like to recognise and appreciate the support given by your very able officials – including the Chief Executive Officer of MOF as Samoa’s focal point for the Pacific Climate Change Centre project and his team, the CEO of MNRE and officials.

I also wish to recognize the support provided by CEO of the MFAT and her officials in the establishment of the PCCC, and in particular Leataua Dr Kilifoti Etuati during his tenure as Samoa’s ambassador to Japan 

I would also, of course, through you Ambassador Aoki-san, like to thank the generosity of the Government of Japan, but also its far sighted commitment to the fund of the construction of the PCCC and the on-going support for capacity building of Pacific partners in climate action which the Centre will host.

It is also important to me and my team here at SPREP, that we thank your predecessor Shibuta-san, and the representatives and technical staff of JICA, who have worked hard to bring us to this happy day. 

Can I also acknowledge the contribution of Yamashita Ltd whom we have worked closely with the in past months in the preparations for the PCCC. Arigato Gozaimasu. 

The concept of the PCCC was first suggested in 2008 at a meeting of the Pacific Climate Change Round Table in recognition that much work on climate action was starting to happen in the region, and that it was desirable that a central focus for coordination and collaboration was established.

The development of a Pacific Climate Change Centre to have this role was subsequently endorsed at the 2012 SPREP Meeting held in Noumea, New Caledonia and was officially approved at the 2015 Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) held in Japan. 

Proof I would say, that good things sometimes take time to come to fruition! 

In the meantime in 2016, Pacific Leaders endorsed the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP), and SPREP Members endorsed a new 10- year Strategic Plan which prioritises climate change as our principal concern in supporting Pacific Island countries and territories to realise a resilient Pacific. 

Together these regional decisions reinforce SPREP’s role in coordinating regional approaches to climate change, and to fulfil its mandate to promote cooperation in the Pacific region and provide assistance in order to protect and improve its environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations

The PCCC will be a major asset in SPREP’s contribution to the Pacific region in terms of effective climate action and most importantly, in meeting the expectations of Members that such action will progress national efforts to achieve their climate change priorities. 

In the lead up to today’s ground breaking, a lot of preparatory work has been ongoing for some time. 

A Steering Committee drawn from a wide range of key stakeholders including SPREP Member countries, partners, donors and agencies of the Council of the Region Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) and the Government of Japan is currently consulting with a view to finalise the details of the role and functions of the PCCC, as well as its governance structure and budget, however some broad principles have been agreed. 

 

Firstly, the PCCC 

• Will not be a new institution or additional CROP agency but will serve as a conduit for climate change resilience work in the region to directly benefit Pacific Island countries and territories.

• It will be a shared regional resource :

• A shared regional asset belonging to the people of the Pacific with the support of development partners committed to the resilient development of Pacific island countries and territories; 

• PCCC will support, coordinate and strengthen partnerships, on climate action and efforts designed to build resilience

•build regional capacities to respond to climate change, and

• The PCCC will build resilience in the context of climate change as a cross-cutting issue, affecting every community and sector; 

• enhance and strengthen climate actions and climate resilient development in alignment with the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, the Framework for Resilient Development of the Pacific, the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy, the Paris Agreement, and other relevant regional and global frameworks and agreements; 

• PCCC will also function as a hub of innovation for delivery of climate change and integrated disaster risk management knowledge and services to Pacific Island members where partners and CROP can work together to develop joint projects, conduct applied research, and deliver coordinated support to PICTs; 

o The PCCC will also serve as a platform for fostering and enhancing genuine partnership and collaboration, as envisaged by the Governments of Japan and Samoa when they generously gave their support to the establishment of the PCCC; 

• a knowledge and research hub for regional meteorological services support 

 

It is intended that the PCCC will focus on 4 key functions: 

1. Knowledge brokerage –i.e.as a knowledge broker–it will build relationships with and between producers and users of knowledge by providing linkages; synthesizing and translating knowledge. This includes both academic research but also traditional knowledge

2. Applied research–applied research conducted in partnership with key partners, the PCCC will need to be aligned to the key themes namely; Climate change science and services; climate adaptation; and climate mitigation and low carbon futures.

3. Training and learning- The PCCC will become a one-stop-shop for climate change training of policymakers and practitioners. The aim is to complement and enhance these efforts and avoid duplication.

4. Innovation-In the context of the PCCC innovation mean safe different things: 

• Turning ideas into solutions;

• The application of ideas that are novel and useful for our region;

• Being relevant to the needs of our people;

A useful way of thinking of innovation is that creativity is thinking of something new, innovation is making it happen! 

 

Four functions will apply to the thematic priorities: 

1. Climate science and services

2. Climate change adaptation

3. Climate change mitigation/low carbon futures

 

4. Climate finance.

• project design, supported by SPREP climate change and project design
expertise, technical knowledge, access to climate finance, and wider
SPREP partnerships;

• research - the PCCC will have space to host researchers and other
visiting specialists including CROP agencies to collaborate in joint
knowledge and service delivery to PICTs; and

• Capacity building for PICTs.
Delivery of knowledge, sciences and services to countries through partnerships will be the key to the success of the PCCC and are already being established with:
PCCC partnerships are already being established with: 

• the governments of UK, Germany and Australia to establish a regional National Determined Contributions (NDC) hub in partnership with SPC: SPREP’s component will be based in the PCCC;

• also partnerships with science and research organisations including CSIRO, NIWA, BOM and NZ Met Service

• Regional universities (beginning with Griffiths University, USP and University of Newcastle) to establish an Innovation Hub at the PCCC linking research with PICT priorities and private sector investment.
But today our focus is on the beginning of the physical construction of the PCCC. The building itself will be constructed according to green guidelines
which includes 50% of the energy to be driven by solar panels with the hope that it will be powered 100% by renewable energy in the future. It is intended to be a showcase of sustainable building technology in the Pacific. 

The cost of the construction of the PCCC is estimated at just under USD 8 million dollars. The construction will be undertaken by the Japanese construction company – Konoike Company Ltd and will take 13.5 months to complete with the handover of the PCCC expected to be in July 2019. 

We are on the cusp of a new era for our Pacific region with our new SPREP strategic plan now in action, and this Pacific Climate Change Centre – a centre of excellence that belongs to our Pacific people, – will be a catalyst for Pacific climate change action. The Centre will play a key role in our journey ahead which will be one towards progress, resilience and environmental sustainability in our Blue Pacific. 

In closing, I would like to thank you all for joining us this morning on this important occasion. Once again to our hosts the Government of Samoa, Honourable Prime Minister FAAFETAI TELE LAVA, and to the Government of Japan – a genuine and important partner - thank you indeed for supporting the Pacific region through the PCCC. 

 

Arigato Gozaimasu and Faafetai 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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