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.
"My journey to Hyderabad to attend 11th Conference of the Parties kicked off from Tonga – NZ – Hong Kong – Mumbai then finally Hyderabad. It was a tiring trip with stop over’s along the way and lack of sleep during the flight. After long hours of traveling, I finally landed in Hyderabad on Monday 8th of October just in time for the Opening of the Conference. Though I was exhausted from the long trip and wished nothing else to do but go straight to the hotel and sleep, I knew I wouldn’t be able to experience COP11 if I didn’t attend the opening of the conference. So there I was, hopping out of the plane and straight to the hotel to shower and then find my way to the Conference Centre.
Travelling to the HICC/Conference Centre was a good experience riding in the small Indian taxi and shocked to how the traffic was so busy. It also gave me an insight of what life is like in India. It has always been a fantasy of mine to see with my own eyes what I see on TV and I have to say that from my personal observation of the poverty experienced in India, I count myself lucky, though growing up in a small country of Tonga but such poverty is not experienced.
My experience of the CBD COP 11 opening was interesting. Since it is my first time to attend such a conference, I found myself lucky to experience CBD COP11. It was interesting to witness countries expressing their support and needs, and voicing their concerns towards the status of biodiversity in their countries and how it is threatened and extinct from human carelessness.
Though I am still new to the COP meeting, I feel that this opportunity will equip me and build my capacity in negotiation process. I am looking forward to learn more as days go by, mingling with delegates from different countries and other counterparts and experience more about India while I have the chance!"