Blue Climate Summit organisers are working to minimise the carbon footprint and position itself as a climate-positive, net-zero emissions event

Global leaders on oceans including the Pacific Oceans Commissioner, Pacific Islands Forum SG, Henry Puna and the Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, are in French Polynesia this week. 

The territory is hosting a Blue Climate Summit convened by the President of French Polynesia, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Oceans champions of the world. The Summit is part of global events in support of the UN Decade for Oceans Science, and is positioning itself as a climate-positive, net-zero emissions event. 

Organisers the Blue Climate Initiative and French Polynesia are working to minimise the carbon footprint of the event, sourcing from the most sustainable available channels and providers and investing in a carbon removal/sequestration project in the tropical IndoPacific and an emission reduction project in French Polynesia.

The event flyer estimates the footprint of the Summit, which will include about 250 global oceans leaders travelling to and within French Polynesia, will generate around 900 tons of CO2. Participants are being encouraged to offset their own travel (e.g., through airline carbon credit programs), and the Summit plans to also invest over USD$200,000 towards projects that will offset at least 1,800 tons of CO2 (i.e., at least twice the Summit’s carbon footprint).

Over the weekend, the summit host-nation leader, President Edouard Fritch has welcomed delegations. Amongst them, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and NZ former Deputy PM, Winston Peters. The former Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna is attending the event as the Pacific Oceans Commissioner and the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The official website of the office of the French Polynesia President was updated on the weekend with news of the visit and courtesy call on President Fritch. They were joined in the meeting by Yvonnick Raffin, Minister of Finance, Economy and Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu, Minister of Culture, Environment, Marine Resources. 

Their meeting covered areas of synergy between the Cook Islands and French Polynesia, particularly in terms of air transport at the bilateral and international level, the future of cruise tourism; the possibility of professional workforce exchanges, and in the field of culture with the occasional invitation of Rarotongan groups to cultural celebrations in French Polynesia to share traditional knowledge.

This story was originally published at PACNEWS on 16 May 2022.

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