Friday, October 19, 2012

Many Strong Voices Advisory Committee Meets In Washington

The Many Strong Voices Advisory Committee met this week in Washington, DC to plan the organization's strategy for the next three years.

Auyuittuq - The Land that Never Melts is Melting
The committee, consisting of volunteers from around the world, meet once a year, sometimes is a Small Island Developing State and sometimes in the Arctic and occasionally, as we did this year, in a location halfway between the two.

The goal of Many Strong Voices (MSV) is to promote the well-being, security, and sustainability of coastal communities in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by bringing these regions together to take action on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to tell their stories to the world.

New wind turbine in the Seychelles
The Arctic and SIDS are barometers of global environmental change. As they are on the frontlines of climate change, they are also critical testing grounds for the ideas and programmes that will strengthen the adaptive capacities of human societies confronting climate change.

Why link the Arctic and Small Island Developing States?

At first glance, the Arctic and Small Island Developing States appear to have little in common. Yet Arctic and SIDS societies share characteristics of vulnerability and resilience, and both of their environments are sensitive to climate change impacts.

MSV committee members at work
Although natural and human environments in the two regions differ markedly, the effects of climate change threaten the ecology, economies, and the social and cultural fabric of both regions posing serious challenges for their sustainable development. While communities in both regions have adapted to changing conditions in the past, climate change presents a new and formidable challenge.

The impact of climate change on coastal zones is an important common denominator between the two regions and provides a context for comparing vulnerability and adaptation processes. Developing adaptation strategies that contribute to sustainable development in both regions is the key to their longterm survival. At the same time, successful adaptation requires immediate and deep cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Lessons learned through MSV support policy development at local, regional, and international levels. They provide decision-makers in the two regions with the knowledge to safeguard and strengthen vulnerable social, economic, and natural systems. More