'Positive impacts upon the livelihoods of the Pacific people' was one of the major highlights in the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Project side event held 22nd Meeting of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in Apia, Samoa.Opening the side event was Ms Brianna Fruean, President of the environmental organisation, Future Rush: "our Pacific islands are our home, they are our paradise, and the PACC will make sure that we can continue to enjoy our Pacific way of life as we adapt to the impacts of climate change."
"I am grateful to PACC and how it is helping our young people, as I said at the Pacific Environment Forum, everything needs to start now, there is no use waiting for the future because what if it's not there anymore. Thank you PACC and the donors who have helped made this possible."
Mr Casper Supa, the national coordinator of the PACC Project in the Solomon Islands presented their experiences when it came to the first expected outcome of the project - 'mainstreaming'. The Solomon Islands are focusing on adaptation measures that address food production and food security to assist the people of Ontong Java. Upon completion of a Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment they were presented with a range of options.
Some of these were; the introduction of a new farming method; suitable crop varieties and build upon existing work of other stakeholders; traditional food preservation practices; supply of water tanks for rural communities; and climate change awareness.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) of New Zealand made a presentation at the side event. Mr Doug Ramsay outlined work undertaken in three of the PACC member countries - Cook Islands, Fiji and the Federated States of Micronesia. NIWA is working to provide evidence-based information to support climate risk management decision-making. His presentation focused on the second expected outcome of the PACC - 'Demonstration.'
On the island of Mangaia in the Cook Islands, NIWA is currently assessing how climate change and sea-level rise will impact the frequency, magnitude and extent coastal related inundation along the villages, harbours and airport shorelines; with that provide a sound, objective and evidence-based framework for climate change adaptation strategies, and demonstrate on an approach that is scalable and can be replicated in other areas of the island.
The third and final expected outcome of the project is 'Communications and Technical Support'. The PACC Communications Coordinator, Ms Setaita Tavanabola is currently working with the member countries to develop communications materials to increase the visibility and awareness of the PACC Project and its donors, and the impact it is making in improving the lives of people affected by climate change.
It is planned that these achievements will be showcased at the United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 17 in Durban. Ms. Nanette Woonton the Media and Public Relations Officer of SPREP outlined the plans for this.
Wrapping up the side event, Regional PACC Project Manager, Mr Taito Nakalevu told participants that the PACC Project implementation is taking more into account than climatic issues.
"PACC also takes into consideration non-climate related issues in its vulnerability and adaptation assessment. This is important to ensure that an integrated solution to addressing climate change especially livelihood issues is taken into consideration."
The PACC Project consists of 14 member countries; it is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Australian Agency for International Development with support from United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Climate Change Capacity Development (C3D+) Programme.