Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Cook Islands, Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific region at the UNCCD

10 October, Changwon, Korea - The Cook Islands has been elected as the Vice Chair for the Asia and Pacific  region at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.  The position of Chair is held by Iran.

“This was a bit unexpected,” said Louisa Karika of the Cook Islands.

Louisa Karika (Center) with delegates from Bhutan
“Our Chair was nominated however he will not be here for the full Conference so I was asked to fill in his place for next week.  In that process while getting the concensus of the group, it was amended into the Cook Islands becoming the Vice Chair for the regional Asia annex.”

The Pacific is recognised as one of the 6 sub regions under the regional annex of Asia at this UN Convention for which land degradation is a key concern for the region.  However the 10th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD has labelled this group as the Asia and Pacific Group.

There are 14 Pacific island countries and territories that are a party to this UN Convention which was formed out of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

It was acknowledged that this is the first time the Pacific region has held such a position.

“Over the next two years I will be supporting the Chair when he is not available in terms of coordinating in the region, this position is more a supportive role.”

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