Dr Percival Cho, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development of Belize delivered the opening statement at a side event at the 24th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being held in Katowice, Poland. This programme is funded by the Government of Italy and provides resources to train a young carrier professional for a year on climate change diplomacy. One fellow is selected each year from each of the three Small Island Developing States (SIDS) regions representing the Caribbean, the Pacific and the African/Asian regions. The fellow is provided an office in his/her UN delegation office in New York and provided credentials to attend relevant UN sessions including the negotiating sessions of the climate change convention. The fellows are also provided with classroom and online training sessions.
H.E. Ambassador Lois Young, Permanent Representative of the Belize to the United Nations moderated the session. Other speakers included representatives of the UNFCCC Secretariat and the Government of Italy along with the Government of the Maldives, the outgoing chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Belize will assume the chairmanship of AOSIS in 2019. AOSIS is one of the negotiating groups of the climate change convention, representing 43 small island and low-lying developing States recognized as the most vulnerable group of countries to the adverse impacts of climate change. The event ended with testimonials by a former and a current AOSIS fellow.