Hosted by Climate Change Cook Islands, the workshop was in support of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and featured in-depth discussions on climate change-related issues and negotiation processes for the Cook Islands.
SPREP Climate Change Adaptation advisor Diane MacFadzien said the workshop was about preparing the Cook Islands delegations for the international climate change meetings that are coming up, and building the government and the civil society’s understanding of the convention processes itself.
“Just as the Cook Islands’ has had long involvement in the Climate Convention, it has been involved in negotiations in the development of various climate change funds that have now been adopted. The most recent development is that the Cook Islands has now been accredited as an agency to directly access funds under the Carers Practical Adaptation Funds,” said MacFadzien.
“We did some skills building, focusing on the negotiation process and how to better prepare. We looked at what steps individuals could take to interact during meetings, and we also provided a briefing on some of the specific technical areas related to climate change, looking at adaptation, the causes of damage, climate finance and so forth.”
MacFadzien said it was a “hectic” task for just a few people to be involved in such a huge programme and community support and involvement was necessary.
“We would want to see a wider group of people in the Cook Islands building our capacity to engage in this, because it’s quite draining, there is a lot of work involved, a lot of travel to meetings.
“The more the people who are equipped to be able to do this could reduce the burden on just one or two individuals.”
MacFadzien said she wanted the workshop participants to gain a more general understanding of climate change and the Cook Islands’ national priorities.
“Especially regarding the international processes, we would also like to see those who go to the negotiation meetings gain the ability to build their own negotiation skills level. That way there will be more awareness of the skills required from all the participants who may represent the country in negotiations and meetings.”