PRESS RELEASE - 13th October 2010 - The Chief Executives of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) have agreed to renew efforts to work closer together to address regional climate change issues.

At the inaugural CROP Executives Committee Meeting on Climate Change held on 12 October in Nadi, Fiji the Chief Executive Officers of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Secretariat to the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), University of the South Pacific (USP), South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), Pacific Islands Applied Geo-science Commission (SOPAC) and the most senior representative on climate change from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), met to discuss how their respective agencies could work closer together to support country efforts to address the impact of climate change. The meeting was co-chaired by the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat and the Director of SPREP.

"As stated by Leaders at their most recent meeting in Vanuatu in August this year, climate change is clearly the greatest challenge of our time and will impact on all aspects of life in the Pacific," said Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the co-chair of the meeting.

"Leaders directed that CROP Agencies renew their efforts to support Pacific Island Countries better tackle the impacts of climate change. This meeting reflects the commitment by CROP Heads to finding more effective ways to coordinate our efforts to meet the serious challenge posed by climate change," said Mr Slade.

The meeting was also an opportunity to talk strategy and pool our efforts prior to major regional and international meetings to be held over the next three months, including the Forum Economic Ministers meeting and the global climate change talks of the Conference of Parties in Mexico.
Mr David Sheppard, Director of SPREP and fellow co-chair, highlighted the importance of the meeting to providing the leadership and direction to the work of CROP Agencies in the region.

"The Committee highlighted the significant challenges facing the region in accessing finance to tackle the impacts of climate change, including the lack of baseline data to support national priorities, lack of capacity at the national level, and the range of development partner approaches and systems," said Mr Sheppard.

"The Committee also identified a number of very practical steps towards better coordination, including greater joint programming and information sharing, improved communication on delivering advice to Pacific island countries and more effective delivery of initiatives to address climate change."

The CROP Executives discussion is timely given that the Forum Economic Minister meeting in Niue later this month will consider the issue of financing for climate change, followed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico in late November-early December 2010.