This was highlighted during the National Negotiations Workshop on Climate Change yesterday.
Climate Analytics legal advisor Rueana Haynes said the Cook Islands has what it takes to make an impact because of the country’s level of vulnerabilities and the fact that it is already starting to feel the effects and impacts of climate change.
“This workshop has been a resounding success because we have participants who are Cook Islanders and have never been to climate change negotiations before. And they’re not sure what’s it all about but they understand its importance as a critical issue that they need to seek redress to,” said Haynes.
“We have been assisting them to improve their participation and negotiation capacities because it’s a very complicated and complex area that we are dealing with.”
Haynes represents Climate Analytics, an organisation based in Berlin, Germany, that helps organisations or nations understand what international negotiations are about.
They also focus on the technical side of negotiations so interested parties are well versed with the climate change issues that are being discussed. They then have a better idea of what to do when it comes to negotiation part of the process, Haynes says.
“We just had a huge global deal during the COP 21 agreement (in Paris) last year but it’s hard to really unpack this big international agreement and localise it to our own communities and make people understand it as individuals.
“In particular, we have been going into the individual issues that have been addressed, pointing out what are the issues that will be under discussion for the conference that’s coming up in Morocco at the end of this year, and helping the Cook Islands build their capacity to be able to prepare to engage in all future discussions.
“I think this workshop will make a huge difference in terms of improving the number of people who have an interest in the climate change issue, knowing what the Cook Islands has done over the years especially at national level, the number of projects have taken place and the amount of funds the country has made use of. The Cook Islands has a good track record over most other countries.”
Haynes now hopes Climate Change Cook Islands will be able to put in place a mechanism to involve residents who are particularly interested in following climate change issues.