Celebrities paopao “Race Against Time” remind us that is now time to tackle climate change

Sep 29, 2015

The competition is a symbolic way of reminding us that we can all do something to reduce global warming. Photo credit: Tokelau Office.

Today CEOs of relevant government ministries, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Lizbeth Cullity, the Director General of SPREP, Mr. David Shepard and the CEO of Digicel, Mr. Rory Condon amongst other celebrities will compete in a paopao race within the Apia harbour. 

The initiative, called Race Against Time is part of the Vailima Alo Paopao Festival, Samoa’s primer international outrigger event. The aim of the competition is to raise awareness on the actions people need to take to contribute to the global fight against climate change. In a world where we continue polluting, burning fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gases, Alo Paopao brings back the use of traditional canoes that does not require any fuel. 

The competition is a symbolic way of reminding us that we can all do something to reduce global warming. Simple actions such as setting the air conditioning no lower than 25 degrees, using natural light as much as possible and switching off lights, turning off and unplugging electronic devices when not in use, car pooling and not leaving cars on idle when the vehicle is not in motion can have a very positive impact on the environment.   

The paopao celebrity challenge will be held from 10 am to 12 pm and teams will be divided into two categories. The Race Against Time is part of the Climate Change Campaign that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Pole to Paris initiative kindly sponsored by Digicel, are implementing as the world marches toward the annual Conference of the Parties (COP21). 

The main objective of the COP 21 - that will be held in Paris from November 30th to December 11th - is to review the implementation of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC). The COP 21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C by 2020. 

In the near future, climate change will significantly threaten the livelihoods of urban and rural populations, the survival of fragile ecosystems, the development of agriculture, water availability, and the infrastructure and services. Also, climate change can certainly produce a devastating effect on the economic and social progress that we are witnessing in many countries of the region, reversing the development achievements and the improvements in the quality of life.

During the Conference, Governments of 195 countries will be determining what effort they will make to reduce emissions greenhouse gas emissions, which are gases that trap the heat in the atmosphere and are responsible for global warming. The COP21 is the opportunity we have to tackle climate change. 



About the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

For more information on UNDP Samoa Multi-Country Office:

- Please visit: http://www.ws.undp.org/content/samoa/en/home.html or

- Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/undpsamoa?ref=hl

About the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE)

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) is a national ministry of the Government of Samoa. Its main role is to make sure that the national environment and human health are protected and that the country uses its natural resources and services as sustainably as possible. The Ministry also contributes to economic growth through the following: (1) by targeting national efforts to maintain and improve environmental standards and to minimize unnecessary burdens on the environment; (2) by working with people and communities to protect and improve the environment in an integrated way; (3) by providing technical information and policy advice to the government to support their roles in decision making; (4) by advocating for better environmental outcomes such as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (as per Samoa’s INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) submission to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) before COP21 in Paris in December 2015).

For more information on the MNRE, please visit: http://www.mnre.gov.ws/

About the COP 21, Paris 2015

The international political response to climate change began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where the ‘Rio Convention’ included the adoption of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This convention set out a framework for action mainly aimed at stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid dangerous and lifethreatening impact on the climate. The UNFCCC which entered into force on 21 March 1994, now has a near-universal membership of 195 parties.

The main objective of the annual Conference of Parties (COP) is to review the Convention’s implementation. The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995 and significant meetings since then have took place in many countries around the globe. This year, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be held in Paris from November 30th to December 11th.

For more information on the COP 21, please visit: http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en

About the Pole to Paris

Pole to Paris is a global awareness campaign ahead of  the Conference of Parties (COP21) that has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The campaign follows two environmental scientists, Daniel Price and Erlend Moster Knudsen, as they travel separately from the Polar Regions to Paris, one by bicycle (Daniel) and one by foot (Erlend). The journey will be documented in a video series, beginning with the impacts of climate change at the poles and highlighting the consequences globally if we fail to succeed in Paris. 

For more information on Pole to Paris, please visit: http://poletoparis.com/

Contact Details

Ms. Francesca Mondello, UN Communication Specialist - Email: francesca.mondello@one.un.org - Phone: (+685) 23670 


Vanda Faasoa Chan-Ting, ACEO Renewable Energy Division, MNRE – Email: vanda@mnre.gov.ws - Phone: (+685) 67200


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