Ms. Seini Fotu from Tonga is at her very first CBD COP, it's also her first time to represent Tonga at such a meeting. She is the Deputy Head of the Biodiversity Section in the Environment Division of Tonga.
"Three days have passed at the 11thConference of the Parties for CBD and I have to say that I’m still taking everything in. It is amazing I have to admit that thousands of people from around the globe have descended on this one country, city and venue, to discuss the way forward on global biodiversity.
The event I am assured will carry on for 2 weeks and in that context well done on some countries who have made it here with a number of delegates. I am the only representative from Tonga and already it has been exhausting attending the many aspects of COP such as working groups, side events, and plenary sessions. It is my intention however to do my country proud, so expect to see me everywhere regardless of how difficult jumping from one Working Group to the other! I count myself fortunate to have the opportunity to learn and network not only with other Pacific delegates but the wider world present here. As a first time COP delegate, I find it quite advantageous to be exposed to such a setting, talking to more experienced colleagues in this field who are much more well aware of the many dynamics.
Every morning before we break out to working groups there is always information sharing with Pacific delegates on what has happened at different meetings attended to fill in the gaps so everyone can be up to date with everything.
Communication through skype also helps as each and every delegate helps guide the other, sharing what they have learnt during individual working group sessions. In the end of this sort of camaraderie, comforts me knowing that although I am the sole Tongan representative, I am not alone.
The joint statements made to represent the Pacific have truly helped open the door for support of our position from other regions, so congratulations are in order for the Pacific team for a job well done so FAR that is. We still have a little longer to go, so keep up the good work ethic. To conclude this entry, regardless of outcomes we as delegates of the Pacific can only do our best.
May the voice of the Pacific be heard by world!!!"