Small Islands Exchange Lessons on Climate Change, DRR

24 May 2011: Opening the conference titled “Lessons for Future Action: Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Small Island States,” Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, urged participants to share lessons learnt on climate change and disaster risk management, so small island developing States (SIDS) can strategize for a better future in the face of climate change.

The Conference is taking place in Apia, Samoa, from 23-25 May 2011, co-organized by Australia's Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, AusAid and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Participants will discuss, inter alia: capacity development; strategies and on-the-ground options; community-based responses to climate change adaptation; disaster risk reduction (DRR); and information and awareness-raising.

David Sheppard, Director, SPREP, called for strengthening partnerships, noting "the high level of solidarity and cooperation that exist between small island States," as exemplified by the work of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

Sione Fakao'si, Executive Director, Tonga Community Development Trust, outlined the lessons from community empowerment projects in Tonga to address climate change and disaster preparedness. Kenrick Leslie, Head of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), expressed hope that the conference would promote greater collaboration between the Caribbean and Pacific States, and called on Australia to extend its climate change funding programme to the Caribbean. [Conference Bulletin, 23 May] [SPREP Press Release] [Updates from Conference]