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Needs of outer islands top climate change lessons learned at Pacific meeting

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Lessons learn

9 September 2015, Colonia

The special needs of outer island communities must be considered in the planning and design of climate change adaptation projects.

That was a clear message stressed by participants at the Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Islands States (GCCA: PSIS) project’s ‘lessons learnt’ meeting that recently concluded in Yap State in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the European Union (EU) hosted this important reflective consultation involving 70 participants from Pacific Island states and other development partners.

Besides logistical challenges such as limited transportation, climate change adaptation projects must be sensitive to the particular customs and ways of life in outer islands, which include traditional governance structures and unique local languages.

 

 

“It is critical to communicate in the local language because when people understand what we are saying, they are able to engage and fully contribute to project activities,” the project’s Country Coordinator in Cook Islands, Teina Rongo, said.

“Combining traditional and local knowledge with scientific data is important in understanding the impacts of climate change and variability in our islands,” he added.

Participants also discussed ways to measure the impact of climate change adaption activities in outer islands.

There is a need to develop indicators that include culture, customs, market forces, sources of income and population dynamics.

“The only income earners are teachers and local government officials who comprise less than 10% of the population,” said FSM Assistant Secretary, Resources and Development, Alissa Takesy, referring to FSM’s outer islands.

“It is a subsistence community so measuring against a cash economy isn’t always suitable; we need to include islanders’ traditional rights to land and marine resources.”

Recognising the special needs of communities and of groups such as children, women, those with disabilities and the elderly was also discussed.

Participants had the opportunity to visit Fais Island in Yap State in FSM and see for themselves the project activities which provided rainwater catchment systems for household compounds and the refurbishment of a community well.

“Everyone has the right to clean water, which is a scarce commodity in the outer islands, where people, have to walk long distances to secure water for their families,” GCCA: PSIS Climate Change Coordinator in FSM, Belinda Hadley, said.

“This project is really benefitting the women and children since they are ones tasked with carting water to the homes every day.”

EU Delegation for the Pacific’s Programme Manager, Infrastructure and Natural Resources, Martin Chong reiterated that "the lessons learned by the nine participating countries and SPC as the EU implementing partner, and shared openly over the two days of the meeting amounts to a real positive output from the project as a whole.”

Chong added, “With the effects of climate change being the common challenge, the lessons learned and the projects implemented in each country can be replicated as demonstrated by the South-South collaboration between Tonga and Palau, specifically looking at the coastal adaptation measures in Tongatapu and their possible application in Palau where similar challenges exist".

The project also launched nine country climate change adaptation videos at the meeting.

These videos, produced by SPC, highlight some of the stories and experiences, as well as the lessons learnt from the implementation of the project.

To view the full set of videos, visit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCq-WnF3Hdri67k5l3c-ew7AyfhQcWIXq

The Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States project is an European Union initiative, made possible with funding of €11.4 million. It is implemented regionally by SPC and nationally by each of the nine participating governments in Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu.

More information on the GCCA: PSIS project is available online at: http://projects.pacificclimatechange.net/projects/global-climate-change-alliance-pacific-small-island-states

Media contacts: Zhiyad Khan, SPC Project Communications Assistant, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sanya.Ruggiero, EU Press and Information Intern, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 09:54  

Newsflash

Kia Orana and Salutations:

Delegates representing Members of the SPC
Director General of the SPC, Dr Jimmie Rodgers
Director of the SOPAC Division, Dr Russell Howorth
Members of the STAR scientific and technical network
Representatives of partner and donor organisations
SPC Staff
Friends

I must say from the outset that Noumea occupies a special place in my heart and it’s a great pleasure to return to be among friends from around the region, and to be a guest of Director General Dr. Jimmie Rodgers.  

The only down-side is that this visit has to be a very brief one as I must return home to Parliamentary duties.  But it’s great to be back and to be included in this week’s organised gatherings of esteemed representatives from around the Pacific and beyond.

Following the STAR Network Meeting address yesterday, my pleasure doubles this morning in providing a few welcome remarks and a short Outgoing Chair's Address for this opening plenary session of the Second Meeting of the SPC Applied Geoscience and Technology Division – more commonly referred to – as SOPAC.

It is pleasing to welcome delegates representing most of the SPC Members here today. I also extend a welcome to all those delegates representing partners and donors that provide the support, including financial resources for the Division to carry out its extensive work programme.  In particular, I recognise the Chair of STAR, Professor John Collen and his colleagues from the Science, Technology and Resources (STAR) Network.  

Thank you for the privilege of addressing the STAR Meeting last evening.  I’ve noted that some 40 scientific and technical papers were presented over the course of the 2-day meeting.  

Likewise Professor Gary Greene, Chair of the Programme Monitoring and Evaluation Group (PMEG), who are drawn from the STAR Network to provide for Members the invaluable independent annual ongoing overview of the Division and its work.

I am aware you have been carrying out your monitoring and evaluation over the past week with staff at the Division Offices in Suva and here in Noumea amongst the Members.  On behalf of the Members, I extend to your team our sincere appreciation.