Press Release - After several years of planning and preparation, a US $13.125 million climate change adaptation project is now underway in the Pacific region.

The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project 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. The project is scheduled to be conducted from 2008 to 2012.

The PACC project will cover 13 Pacific islands countries and help develop three key areas that will build resilience to climate change in Pacific countries: food production and food security, coastal management and water resource management. Adaptation projects will be implemented nationally, and were selected after an intensive consultative process with the implementing agencies.

Under the project, Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands will focus on food production 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.

"The Pacific countries have continued to indicate at the regional and international forums, the problems they are already facing from climate change, like salination of underground water, inundation of low lying areas and coastal erosion," said Taito Nakalevu of SPREP, who began his new role as the PACC Project Manager on 6 April.

"These are already impacting on the livelihoods of our Pacific people and the very resources they actually depend on. This project is part of the answer to help
assist them in addressing this problem," Nakalevu added.

An inception workshop for the region wide project will be staged in June to build the capacity for countries to be able to fulfill the administrative requirements of the Project and to introduce other technical backstopping support.

Nakalevu is currently working with countries bilaterally to help establish project management units that will coordinate PACC on the ground in the Pacific.

"Climate change is an important issue, it just won't go away. We have to adapt, we don't have any other option."