Regional Symposium Discusses Climate Change Adaptation in the South-West Indian Ocean Islands

14 December 2012: The international symposium titled "Adaptation to climate change in the South-West Indian Ocean islands - Evaluation and Prospects" took place from 12-14 December 2012, in Saint-Denis, La Réunion. During the event, member States of the the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) called for enhancing regional cooperation in the field of climate change adaptation.

The event was jointly organized by the Regional Council of La Réunion and IOC, with the suport of the EU, the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France and the French Development Agency (AFD). It was held within the context of the Acclimate project of the IOC, which will conclude at the end of December 2012, after four years of activities in the sub-region to build capacity in the field of climate change adaptation.

During the symposium IOC provided an overview of the activities it carries out in this field, through the Acclimate project, as well as other projects that feature a climate change adaptation component, in the field of sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, agriculture, meteorology and integrated coastal zone management.

Country representatives presented on actions in their territories, and formulated some recommendations aimed at supporting efforts made to reduce vulnerability to climate change, develop adaptive capacities, and reinforce the regional approach initiated under the Acclimate project. Some of the recommendations emanating from the symposium include: developing observing capacities and the study of the impacts of climate change; improving access to international finance to support adaptation on the ground; and continuing the defence by IOC of the interests of its member States within international bodies and in the climate negotiations.

At the conclusion of the symposium, the IOC member States adopted a resolution, in which they request the 28th Council of Ministers of the IOC to adopt the regional strategy for adapting to climate change within the IOC member States of the IOC.

The symposium brought together approximately 100 participants from Comoros, France (La Réunion island), Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Zanzibar (Tanzania), as well as representatives from various funding agencies. [IOC Press Release (in French)] [Final Resolution (in French)]