Press Release: Adapting to the adverse effects of current and future changes in climate is a reality that a five year regional project will help Pacific communities put into action.

The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project (PACC) will bring a total of US$13.125 million dollars into 13 Pacific Island countries. This funding will help start adaptation projects on the ground in three major climate change concerns; food security, water and coastal management.

Next week, the PACC Inception workshop will bring together the representatives from the 13 different Pacific countries to help prepare them to carry out this project at the national level. It will be at this time that all stakeholders can come together and discuss the implementation arrangements at both the regional and national level.

"We will try and get the PACC countries to take ownership of the project and also understand the administrative and reporting requirements needed for the project. We need to address this with them so that implementation at the national level would be easier and they can begin work immediately at the national and community pilot level," said PACC Project Manager Taito Nakalevu who is based at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Over the period of a week, the 13 countries involved in PACC will be better prepared to ensure that this project will begin smoothly at national level. During the inception phase participants will work on communications strategies, have a finalized annual work plan, fully understand the reporting requirements and have established stronger partnerships. These are just a few of the workshop outcomes.

Nakalevu said that this coming workshop is just the beginning, and to expect more technical workshops to assist with the PACC project coordinators during the implementation phase.

"Hopefully all that is learnt at the coming inception workshop will trickle down to national inception or meetings where they can start the project at national level and flow on from there. The PACC project will engage the communities from the word "go" to the completion of the pilots whether it is food security, water or integrated coastal management."

Under the project, Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands will focus on food prosecution and food security. The Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa and Vanuatu are developing Coastal Management capacity and Nauru, Niue, Republic of Marshall Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu are looking to strengthen their water resource management.

"This project is a beginning towards real implementation work in the Pacific. Most climate change projects implemented in the past were enabling activities and capacity building. There is a need for other areas and sectors to be looked at and PACC is a small step towards addressing adaptation efforts at the national and community level on the ground", said Nakalevu.

The PACC is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as its implementing agency and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) as implementing partner.