Tokelau discusses ‘’Living with Change’’ with the UN agencies

Sep 4, 2017

Children of Fakaofo, Tokelau. Photo credit: C.L.Anderson

Earlier this year, at the 2017 Ocean Conference in New York, Tokelau officially launched its climate change strategy titled Living with Change (LivC). On 31st August, Tokelau officials visited the UN agencies in Samoa where they discussed and explained in greater detail the LivC strategy and its implementation plan. 

The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Lizbeth Cullity, opened the session welcoming the presenters and the participants. Ms. Paula Faiva, Climate Change Manager, Government of Tokelau and Mr. Penehuro Lefale, Climate Change Advisor for Tokelau Government, presented the basis, background and content of the strategy. 

The key strengths of this document are its scientific basis for:  the climate outlook, community knowledge, and its accurate alignment to the relevant articles of the Paris Agreement. 

The most significant climate change related hazards affecting Tokelau are its severe weather systems - heavy rains, drought, storm surges, king tides, etc. Although historical data shows that between 1970-2015 only five tropical cyclones passed within 278 km of Tokelau, the risks are not completely eliminated particularly in an El Niño event, explained Mr. Lefale. 

The people of Tokelau envision a vibrant, innovative, climate resilient and ready nation with healthy communities, ecosystems, and an economy that are all resilient in the face of change. In line with that, the goal of the strategy is to provide Tokelauans with climate change and related hazards’ intelligence services (CCS) to enhance their safety, resilience, freedom, sustainability, healthy ecosystems and well-being, and economic prosperity in the face of change. 

LivC identifies three inter-related Climate Resilient Investment Pathways:

i) Mitigation – decarbonisation development; 

ii) Adaptation – strengthened integrated risk reduction and adaptation to enhance resilience in the face of climate change; 

iii) Human development – capacity building, education, training, public awareness and outreach. 

This approach also mirrors the new inter-disciplinary earth system science, as noted by Mr. Lefale. He also noted that the safest and most predictable method of moderating climate change is to take early and effective action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. 

Per its commitment to the climate change agenda, the Government of Tokelau agreed to establish a new Department of Climate Change. Adequate institutional arrangements and efficient human capacity will be needed to progress on the implementation of the pathways, noted Ms. Faiva. She also looks forward to fostering partnerships with UNDP and other UN agencies, particularly on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in areas of climate change. 

The UN agencies present at the session were - UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO, FAO, WHO, UNWOMEN, and ILO. 

If you are interested in further details of the strategy, please check the following links: 

Living with Change (LivC) : http://www.tokelau.org.nz/site/tokelau/files/ClimateChange/LivCStrategy_web-2.pdf 

LivC Roadmap: http://www.tokelau.org.nz/site/tokelau/files/ClimateChange/LivCImplementPlan_web-2.pdf 

Written by: Ms. Rumana Khan, UNV Manager of UN Programmes in Tokelau, rumana.khan@undp.org

Contact information

For further information on strategy, please contact: 

Ms. Paula Faiva, Climate Change Manager, Government of Tokelau paula.faiva@tokelau.org.nz