GRID-Arendal's Polar Programme is organizing a roundtable discussion at the coming UN Climate Convention meeting in Montreal (COP XI). The theme of the roundtable is Climate Change in Vulnerable Regions - the Arctic and Small Island Developing States and will take place on Arctic Day, Tuesday, December 6 in Montréal.
Climate change has an impact on almost every aspect of our lives. Most of our rural communities are still very dependent on natural resources such as fisheries, agriculture, or forestry to earn a living, but because of climate change, these resources are becoming scarcer. Taito Nakalevu, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme
What is at stake here is not just the extinction of animals but the extinction of Inuit as a hunting culture. Climate change in the Arctic is a human issue, a family issue, a community issue, and an issue of cultural survival. The joining of circumpolar peoples with Pacific Island and Caribbean States is surely part of the answer in addressing these issues. Many small voices can make a loud noise… Sheila Watt Cloutier, Inuit Circumpolar Conference
What do the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme have in common, and why are they talking at climate change meetings now underway in Montréal?
The answer is both regions are feeling the effects of climate change – of melting sea and rising ocean levels – and both need to develop adaptation strategies.
GRID-Arendal will use Arctic Day to launch a project that will bring two vulnerable regions – the Arctic and Small Island Developing States – together. The roundtable’s theme is Building Connections between the Arctic and Small Island Developing States. Our goal is to publicize effects of climate change on vulnerable, indicator regions and assist in developing a joint project focusing on awareness raising and training for the purpose of developing adaptation strategies.
The roundtable will be introduced by UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer and moderated by Canada’s Ambassador for the Environment, Karen Kraft Sloan. Participants include Sheila Watt Cloutier, International Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Conference and Taito Nakalevu, Climate Change Adaptation Officer, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
In addition to drawing attention to these two vulnerable regions, the roundtable at COP XI will be the first step in developing a SIDS/Arctic project. GRID-Arendal has received support for such an initiative from UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi and the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn. Letters of support have been received from the Government of Mauritius and the Secretariat of the Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) of the South Pacific. Interest has also been expressed by the Governments of Canada, Norway, and Sweden.
The Inuit Circumpolar Conference will be a key partner in this work and GRID-Arendal will discuss collaboration with other Arctic Indigenous Peoples. Bringing together representatives from these two very different yet connected regions will demonstrate that climate change is a global issue and that, in the words of Sheila Watt Cloutier, "the people and planet are one."
Building Connections between the Arctic and Small Island Developing States
Representatives of Arctic Indigenous Peoples, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will take part in an Arctic Day roundtable to deliver a strong message: as the Arctic warms up and ice melts, many cultures and indeed entire countries are threatened with inundation.
The roundtable launches a new project to support the efforts of people in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States to adapt to climate change. UNEP’s Key Polar Centre GRID-Arendal will run the project.
||Tuesday 6 December 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.|
||Guy Favreau Complex, Salle Mousseau|
Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
Sheila Watt Cloutier,
International Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Conference
Climate Change Adaptation Officer, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme
||Karen Kraft Sloan|
Canada’s Ambassador for the Environment
For further information contact: Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, Mobile +41 79 596 57 37
John Crump (+1 613 255-3840) or Tiina Kurvits (+1 613 262-3395)