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Posted on on July 3rd, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

read the press release on our website:

Experts meeting in St. Lucia explore ways to educate populations about the
perils of climate change

(Rodney Bay, 3 July 2007) – Faced with sea level rise of up to one meter by
the end of the next century and the need to relocate entire populations
within the next 50 years, representatives of 30 small island developing
States (SIDS) are meeting in St. Lucia from 3 to 5 July to discuss how
their populations can be better educated about the effects of climate

The three-day workshop, organised by United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC), will seek to identify priorities for island States
over the next five years.

“This workshop comes at a critical time in the intergovernmental process,
and will enable this most vulnerable group of countries, SIDS, to share
important lessons on how to best prepare the public to deal with the
serious and irreversible effects of climate change that have been
predicted,” said Paul Desanker, Team Leader of the Capacity Building and
Outreach Unit at the UN Climate Change Secretariat.

Some of these lessons have resulted in efforts like Community Multimedia
Centres which combine local broadcasting with internet and related
technologies.   Initial participants include radio stations in Barbados,
Cuba, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.   Another unique initiative to
increase public awareness has been the development of a handbook for
Caribbean journalists on covering climate change issues.

The workshop is the last in a series of activities which form part of a
work programme launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in New Delhi
(2002).   It will be led by Ambassador Bagher Asadi, who also chairs the
Convention’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation.   The Honourable Leonard
Montoute, Acting Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, will deliver a keynote
address at the opening ceremony. Participating organizations include UNEP,
UNESCO and IUCN Fiji.   Regional organizations such as OAS, SPREP and
CARICOM are also expected to attend.

The recent projections of the impact of climate change on SIDS by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has prompted island nations to
assess their needs in terms of resources, training and financial support.
One of the most dramatic effects of observed and projected climate change
is the physiological consequences of coral bleaching, which has already
caused long-term damage to many reefs worldwide.   It has been estimated
that the cost would reach as much as US$90 billion in tourism alone for
loss of 58% of the world’s coral reef. Key findings from this workshop will
feed into decisions to be made at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali,
Indonesia in December this year.

“The impacts of climate change we are presently seeing in the Caribbean
underscore the urgency to act against the phenomenon by launching an agenda
for negotiations on a post-2012 agreement in Bali this year. The
negotiations need to conclude by 2009 so that the agreement can be ratified
by governments before the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol
ends in 2012,” said Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

The post-2012 regime will present new opportunities for addressing climate
change, and the role of education and outreach will become increasingly
important to enable the greatest participation of all in designing and
implementing a sustainable future.

For complete conference information, including a schedule of events, please
visit the UNFCCC website:

More information is available at:

About the UNFCCC

With 191 Parties, the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention
(UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997
Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has to date 175 member Parties. At the
intergovernmental level, the Convention recognizes the important role of
education, training and public awareness, and has programmes dedicated to
supporting countries in their efforts.

For further information, please contact
Mr. Paul Desanker, Team Leader of the Capacity Building and Outreach Unit,
UNFCCC:  pdesanker at
Ms. Laurence Pollier, Programme Officer, UNFCCC:    lpollier at
Ms. Carrie Assheuer, Public Information and Media Assistant, UNFCCC:
(+49-228) 815-1005 or  press at
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