Pacific journalist launch environment network

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PINA President Moses Stevens, left, EJN's Imelda Abano and PEJN Interim President Iliesa Tora cut the cake to mark the official launch of PEJN in Tonga, on Monday night.
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BY ELLISON.T.VAHI

THE Pacific Environment Journalist Network officially launched a network that will act as a platform for the exchange of stories and news content on environment issues in the Pacific.

During the launching of the Network, Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) President Moses Steven said it is good that the Pacific tells its own stories instead of overseas media coming to report on issues of the Pacific.

“It is time Pacific islanders tell the world their own stories and this is a part of it. I would like to congratulate everyone behind it.”

He said PEJN should work with national media organisations to develop and grow reporting on environment issues ‘because we have to take ownership of our stories’.

PINA President Moses Stevens, left, EJN’s Imelda Abano and PEJN Interim President Iliesa Tora cut the cake to mark the official launch of PEJN in Tonga, on Monday night.

Earth Journalism Network’s Imelda Abano said it is important to have such networks to strengthen and improve the quality and quantity of environment reporting in the Pacific.

PEJN is registered in Tonga and will have its Secretariat in Tonga as well.

The Pacific Environment Journalist Network (PEJN) is made up of 10 Pacific journalists who had won awards to attend and report on the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, in November last year.

Membership will be open to journalists from across the region.

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Backed by a wide range of positive announcements from governments, cities, states, regions, companies and civil society, delegates from over 190 countries agreed to a 12-month engagement focusing on ‘Where are we, where do we want to go and how do we get there?’

The ‘Talanoa Dialogue’, inspired by the Pacific concept of constructive discussion, debate and story-telling, will set the stage in Poland in 2018 for the revising upwards of national climate action plans needed to put the world on track to meet pre-2020 ambition and the long-term goals of the two-year old Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement’s central goal is keep the global average temperature rise below 2 Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5. The lower limit is deemed crucial for survival by many small islands and vulnerable countries.

Over one degree of this rise has already occurred since pre-industrial times. The current set of national climate action plans, known as NDCs, are still heading for a path towards 3 Celsius, possibly more.

Frank Bainimarama, President of the conference also known as ‘COP23’ and Prime Minister of Fiji, said: “I’m very pleased that COP23 has been such a success, especially given the challenge to the multilateral consensus for decisive climate action. We have done the job we were given to do, which is to advance the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement and prepare for more ambitious action in the Talanoa Dialogue of 2018.”

“There has been positive momentum all around us. And Fiji is especially gratified how the global community has embraced our concept of a Grand Coalition for greater ambition linking national governments with states and cities, civil society, the private sector and ordinary men and women around the world,” he said.

“We leave Bonn having irregular up some notable achievements, including our Ocean Pathway, the historic agreement on agriculture and others on a Gender Action Plan and Indigenous People’s Platform.

“We have also secured more funding for climate adaptation and launched a global partnership to provide millions of climate-vulnerable people the world over with affordable access to insurance.

“I want to warmly thank our hosts, the German Government and the UNFCCC, as well as the residents of Bonn. We brought our Fijian Bula Spirit to COP and it’s been wonderful how people responded. Vinaka vakalevu. Let’s all leave rededicating ourselves to more ambitious action on climate change by moving Further, Faster, and Together in the year ahead.”

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