Wednesday 18th May, 2011 Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Suva, Fiji

The Pacific region is continuously exposed to a range of hazards - including floods, drought, earthquakes, cyclones, volcanoes and tsunamis - which caused estimated total damages and losses of USD 756 million between 2001 and 2009, noted the Acting Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Land Resource Division (LRD) Inoke Ratukalou at the Agro-meteorological Applications and Climate Change Impact Assessment Workshop currently taking place in Nadi.
'Many of these disasters and their increased severity are an effect of climate change, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) data analysis provides a basis for scientists to predict that the intensity of this phenomenon will increase in the future,' Mr Ratukalou said.

'SPC is pleased to collaborate with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to host this workshop on agro-meteorology applications for climate change impact assessment, and we are also glad to note the valuable support from Fiji Meteorological Service here in Nadi.'

International consensus under the Mauritius Strategy notes that small island developing states (SIDS) around the world face common concerns, such as climate change trends that threaten traditional ways of life and economies.

According to Mr Ratukalou: 'The agricultural sector is especially significant for our islands, as so many of our citizens earn their living and feed their families from their plantations and gardens, but now we are increasingly witnessing the negative impacts of climate change in this sector.'

'Given the urgent need to protect our food security and livelihoods and ensure a modest yet dignified existence for our peoples, it is critical that we understand and manage these climate change impacts on our agriculture, and adjust our practices accordingly. If we correct the way we do things now, I am sure we will be in a better position to survive severe climate effects in the future.'

Mr Ratukalou encouraged the participants to take full advantage of the unique opportunity presented by this workshop to advance our collective scientific knowledge in order to improve the lives of people across the Pacific.

The Government of Japan and UNDP's Special Unit for South-South Cooperation provided funding for this two-week workshop.