February 16, 2016 – Almost 300 participants gathered at the ICT Lecture Theater at the University of the South Pacific to attend the Post 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) Debrief. Facilitated by the Pacific Island Development Forum, the dialogue focused on the key outcomes from the COP21; the Paris Agreement and what it means for the Pacific and the world.cop21

Delivering the keynote speech Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Honourable Enele Sosene Sopoaga stated that having reflected on the Paris Agreement and its accompanying decision he is compelled to admit that it was a good outcome. Referring to it as the Sipikana Agreement (Sipikana meaning beautiful), Honourable Sopoaga stated that it will save Tuvalu and it will save the world.

“One key element of the Paris Agreement is the 2017 review of the adaptation-related institutional arrangement; we must be ready to participate actively in this review. We need to ensure that adaptation support is delivered to the most vulnerable in an expedient manner. Pacific SIDS needs to develop a strategic process to ensure we have a strong input and PIDF can help by mobilising the civil society” he further mentioned.

Also presented at the Forum were other key players in the Paris negotiations.

“The Pacific Island countries have led by example in the run up to Paris and in Paris itself and now I know the Pacific Island countries will lead by example when it comes to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the European Union stands shoulder to shoulder with you in this endeavor”
European Union Ambassador H.E. Andrew Jacobs

“President Obama describes the Paris Agreement as the best chance we have to save the one planet we got. The United States is committed to working with our partners in the South Pacific to seize this opportunity and with hard work; innovation and political will built together a better, cleaner future”
United States Ambassador H.E. Judith Cefkin

“The Paris Agreement was a success but much will depend on its implementation, 2016 ought to be the year of the four P’s – Process of signing and ratification, Precise details, Pre 2020 period and Preparation of COP22.”
French Ambassador H. E. Michel Djokovic

“Let us congratulate ourselves for the whole world has heard our Pacific voices; we have been a great influence to the COP21 and now let’s focus on how we intend to implement the measures we have agreed upon”
PIDF Secretary General – Mr. François Martel

Part of the Forum program was a panel discussion focusing on some of the core features of the agreement. The panel featured experts (most of whom were in Paris) who provided analysis and observations on the outcomes; highlighting the major achievements for SIDS, the shortcomings and weaknesses.

Also discussed were challenges in implementing the agreement and ensuring participation of all stakeholders at the national, regional and global levels.

The audience were provided with an opportunity to seek clarification on the processes and outcomes and learn about some of the dynamics and untold stories leading to the final deal.