Instead of adopting a “wait and see approach”, Puna said they strategically plan for the long term to ensure that their planning shifts the thinking from a focus on optimisation, to an emphasis on minimising the likelihood of unacceptable outcomes.
He said the focus should be on overall resilience, as opposed to separating mitigation and adaptation.
“We want to seek the advancement of our economy, while allowing it to foster cultural, social and environmental development, together with improving governance that seeks to improve the wellbeing of our future generations,” Puna said while speaking at a climate change round-table event last week.
He also said mitigation and adaptation would certainly be required, but as a means to attaining a resilient society, with sustainable development as the final objective.
“This is the essence of our Climate Change Country Programme. I want to acknowledge the support received from the Green Climate Fund towards its development,” Puna said.
“Our country programme identifies 11 priority programmatic areas – renewable energy, coastal protection and restoration, water security, disaster risk management, waste management, climate proofing infrastructure, integrated flood management, agriculture and ecosystem based adaptation, ocean management, livelihoods of people and communities, and knowledge, research and innovation.
“Our country programme attempts to integrate climate resilience into core national development planning, and ensuring that this links to our National Sustainable Development Plan, and various sector strategies.”
Puna said they have identified five key priority areas, ensuring their economic survival in the medium to long term.
He said these priority areas do not limit their recognition that health, education, and expanded economic opportunity for people, also contribute to resilience. “We know that neglect of these key areas, as well as addressing the unsustainable use of natural resources, work against building resilience. We are trying to ensure that integration of climate change into our development agenda is the ‘new normal’ approach. We cannot wait even for a moment to build climate resilience.”
However, Puna aid they cannot achieve this “new normal” approach without the help from the various local and international partners.
“Our partners that have assisted in our efforts to date, and potential new partners that are willing to support a champion for addressing climate change impacts and overall building resilience, are welcomed.”