Team Pacific at the UN Climate Change Negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco: Palau and Vanuatu

Part of our series featuring quick snippets from Pacific island negotiator, introducing you to the people representing the Pacific islands in the Climate Change negotiations.  Today we introduce you to Ambassador Olai Uludong of Palau and Philip Malsale of Vanuatu.


Ambassador Uludong has taken part in the climate negotiations for 13 years, from 2011 to 2015 she was the lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS) when Nauru was the Chair.  Ambassador Uludong started in the negotiations focussing on capacity building, then education, awareness and outreach.She now has experience in all of the different negotiation threads – #4PacIslands

Q What is your most memorable moment at the Climate Negotiations?

“Seeing the Pacific island negotiators grow has been a highlight, for me the experience of coming in and learning the procedures and struggling was tough. When I started there was only funding for one negotiator per Pacific country so now it is good to see that the UN has noticed we are constrained by the lack of capacity and now have funding to cover 2 or 3 delegates.  My memorable moment has been able to see the capacity of Pacific islanders in the negotiations built as this is an issue very dear to us.  It has been good to see how we as Pacific negotiators have grown.”

Q What is your biggest challenge at the negotiations?

“When you grow up in the Pacific islands you do so with a strong sense of culture and respect, I think my biggest challenge has been having to put this aside when you come in to the negotiations and do so without any emotion or that sense of showing traditional respect.  In a sense that was my biggest challenge.”

 Q What advice do you have for other Pacific island negotiators?

“Get to know your issues nationally and regionally and always try to remember the beginning of where you started.  I think that will help strengthen your maneuvering as you negotiate as this is all about being able to both give and take, the negotiations are about compromise.  Knowing what you can give and take is an important principal for me at these negotiations.”

Philip Malsale works for the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department, he has attended the last three Conferences of the Parties of the UN Climate Convention and often follows the threads on technology.

 Q.What is your most memorable moment at the UN Climate Conferences?

“Learning something new, negotiating at the Climate COPs is really, totally different from the work that we normally do in our workplace, having to learn something new and just the constant learning in this field is something I really enjoy.”

 Q What has been your biggest challenge?

“It’s the long-distance travel to the COP host country and then trying to adjust to the different climates (COP 19 was in Poland in Winter, COP 20 was in Lima, Peru and COP 21 was in Paris in Winter) and really knowing and understanding the different currencies of those countries but once you overcome that in a day or two, then you are good to go.”

 Q What advice or tips do you have for other budding negotiators?

“Know your priority areas and your country positions and preferences, know how to negotiate and take part in the training from UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) as well as the training from SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme), also if you have to travel to very different countries, get to know what the weather will be like.  Be prepared, just be prepared!”. SOURCE: SPREP/PACNEWS [/restrict]