COP21 climate talks continue

Friday December 04, 2015 Written by Published in Local

As the first week of climate change negotiations of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) draws to an end, there is an obvious air of frustration for delegations wanting a legally-binding agreement at the conclusion of the conference.


The Cook Islands delegation led by the Prime Minister has been busy following the agenda items that are of interest to our country.

“What is becoming obvious is the wide gap between rhetoric and action. During the Leaders Event of November 30, all leaders aspired to an agreement in COP 21 that was ambitious and action orientated, said Prime Minister Henry Puna. 

“However, in the days of negotiations that have followed, what we have to date is an agreement that is almost all bracketed.”

“The inequality in this (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) process is glaring,” said Elizabeth Wright-Koteka, the alternate Head of Delegation.

“The small delegations, such as those of island states are severely disadvantaged, with their limited numbers spread thinly across the various negotiation tracks and given the constrained timeframe have no choice but to work long into the night.

“This is resulting in very tired negotiators and the first week is not yet over. On the other hand, the larger delegations are able to cover adequately all negotiation tracks.” The Cook Islands delegation is following the negotiations under the elements of finance, adaptation, mitigation and loss and damage.

Government negotiators Elizabeth Wright-Koteka, Ana Tiraa and Talissa Koteka are assisted by Peter Tierney, Linda Siegele (legal adviser), Nanette Wontoon, Ewan Cameron, Diane McFadzien and Tina and Boyd Newport.

The negotiators aim to ensure that the needs of the Cook Islands in relation to climate change are reflected in the agreement text.

Puna met with the Green Climate Fund Secretariat on Wednesday (CI time). Discussions focused on access by the Cook Islands of the Green Climate Fund in the short and long term.

The Climate Change Cook Islands division of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has been established as the National Designated Authority for the Green Climate Fund.

The OPM has been working with the Secretariat on accessing the Cook Islands’ share of readiness support.

The Prime Minister reiterated the position of the Cook Islands that the fund should not be about added burden or process, but rather should be focused on simplifying access for countries on the frontline to respond to the impacts of climate change.

The meeting clarified outstanding issues relating to accessing the fund and building the relationship between the Cook Islands and the Green Climate Fund Secretariat.

                - Release/Phillipa Webb 

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