FEATURE: Island nations embrace climate compatible development – COP21
CDKN’s Deputy CEO Ari Huhtala was invited to introduce the concept of climate compatible development, which led to a panel of interesting interventions on “Challenges for adaptation and mitigation for islands and coastal communities” at the Pacific and Small Islands Day at the Tara Oceans and Climate Pavilion on 2 December, organised by Rare and the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA).
The concept of climate compatible development is extremely relevant to marine and coastal communities where opportunities for carbon sequestration meet with immediate adaptation challenges and direct links between livelihoods and effects of climate change.
The President of Palau, H.E. Tommy E. Remengesan Jr. highlighted his country’s recent bold decision to establish a marine sanctuary of 500,000 sq.kms (the size of France) leaving only 20% of their exclusive economic zone free for commercial domestic fishing. In addition to the creation of this carbon sink, Palau has submitted an Intended Nationally Determined contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC with the target of reducing emissions by 50% by 2025 from business as usual. The President seeks genuine two-way partnerships to support its implementation.
Other speakers included Agus Dermawan (Director for Conservation and Marine Biodiversity of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia), Celine Charveriat (Head of Advocacy and Campaigns, Oxfam International), Brett Jenks (President and CEO, Rare) and Antha Williams (Environment Program Lead, Bloomberg Philanthropies). The importance of community ownership of development processes and reciprocity of support arrangements were highlighted, and good examples of successful climate compatible development initiatives were provided. To have global impact, these need to be scaled up and mainstreamed. And action is needed now, as in many island and coastal communities’ extreme weather shocks are becoming the “new normal”, as Celine Charveriat so eloquently put it.
Image: Palau, credit Lux Tonerre.