By Aaron Packard –'s Pacific Coordinator.

It’s been a long day here at the first day of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Niue – the world’s least populated country. With more than 80 leading climate change specialists from every Pacific Island nation, it’s been a high-powered day, and the first of four. There are representatives from donor countries and organisations – like the EU and the Asian Development Bank – government departments and civil society organisations.

During the day I got the chance to ask the EU representative more about their funding pledge for Pacific Island nations, which I wrote about last week – in response to an earlier Guardian article.  In my article I followed what turned out to be a red herring created by The Guardian article, with a misconstrued focus on the conditionality of the pledge of €60m. The claim of The Guardian was that in return for the funds, the Pacific Island nations must side with EU negotiating stance in the UN negotiations. If this was to be the case, it would mean – as I stressed in my article – that Pacific Island nations would have to make a compromise on their support for the 350ppm target.

To my relief, the EU representative responded by saying that the conditionality was not as The Guardian portrayed it, and that the clause actually states that the two groups would side with each other 'where possible', and it is not conditional to the funding. There of course remain the issues that the funding was existing development funding, and that it is only a fraction of what is needed. 

The immediate challenge that I'll be focusing on in the next three days is to strengthen the commitment of Pacific Island nations to the 350 target, in the hope that they show stronger leadership – much like the Maldives has. Fortunately the roundtable gives us that chance because it is proving to be an inspiring story of genuine regional collaboration between government and non-government representatives. It is an example to the rest of the world on how to work together and mobilise on climate change – outside of the UNFCCC process. This roundtable is an all-important step for the Pacific, but equally important will be our collective work of building the global movement from the village and grass-roots up in the coming year.

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