Addressing challenges of climate change

13 Jan 2011

Dili – An inception workshop of the Initial National Communication (INC) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is being held today with key players in the environmental sector of Timor-Leste.

It provided an opportunity for all stakeholders – senior Government officials, donor partners, NGOs and private sector – to exchange views on the challenges of climate change and plan the way forward in advancing the environmental agenda.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Abilio Lima, said: “Recognizing the importance of addressing climate change and the need to integrate its environmental and development objectives, Timor-Leste ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2007.”

He added that it is important for the Government, NGOs, private sector and all parties “to work together to contribute to efforts to address the challenges of climate change impacts in Timor-Leste”.

In line with its commitment to the UNFCCC, Timor-Leste is expected to report on national progress on issues related to climate change three years after ratifying the Convention.

To help the country prepare its Initial National Communication (INC), UNDP with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and AusAID, launched the Enabling Activities for the Preparation of Timor-Leste’s Initial National Communication (INC) project in July 2008.

The initiative identified critical priorities for the implementation of the UNFCCC in Timor-Leste, and built upon previous activities, studies, experiences, and institutional settings.

It also responded to the need for strengthening Timor-Leste capacity to fulfill its commitments to the UNFCCC on a long-term basis.

“The Government has already taken strong ownership of the Initial National Communication project,” said UNDP Country Director, Mikiko Tanaka.

“We hope this will give a new impetus toward strengthening Timor-Leste's capacity to contribute to addressing the impact of climate change,” she said.

“We are certain that after this project, a series of other initiatives will follow to support Timor-Leste in managing its environment in a sustainable manner.”

The project also addressed the need to ensure the availability of policy-related information to support the integration of climate change issues into national development plans; the availability of a national greenhouse gas inventory; the development of a system to ensure this national inventory is kept up-to-date; improved scientific knowledge; and a clear understanding of Timor-Leste’s vulnerabilities and adaptation responses to current and future climate change.

The inception meeting provided an opportunity to confirm arrangements for INC implementation and for all stakeholders to get involved from the earliest point.