The University of the South Pacific through the Pacific Ocean and Climate Crisis Assessment Project (POCCA) gives voice to Pacific Indigenous knowledge systems and how they can work together in harmony with western scientific approaches.
The project’s interdisciplinary approach allows for integrated data, which is frequently lacking in Pacific regional climate change positions.
The USP POCCA research team is in Vanua Levu, visiting three communities: Karoko, Vunisavisavi, and Vunidogoloa, from the 19th to the 25th of October, to collect data and document community stories and indigenous knowledge about climate change and how communities can build resilience.
Dr. Hilda Waqa-Sakiti, USP POCCA Project Team Leader said, “the stories captured from the communities provide documented evidence and lived experiences by the Pacific Island communities on the impacts faced due to Climate Change and how they have developed resilience over the years.”
“More importantly, the indigenous knowledge captured in their stories, which are unique to the Pacific, will contribute significantly to the main project output of a Pacific-based Ocean and Climate Assessment report,” she added.
“The findings of this Assessment report will better inform policy and decision-makers, as well as align with Pacific needs for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, particularly in the areas of Climate Finance access and technology and capacity development needs for the region.”
Climate change knowledge in the Pacific is based on centuries of knowledge production, daily experience, observation, continuous adaptation, innovative disaster responses, the development of resilient mechanisms, environmental protection, and the importance of interconnections between the ocean, sky, land and people.
The data derived from this assessment will strengthen policy framing for Pacific governments as well as be useful for global negotiations to promote the unique Pacific voices and experiences.
The POCCA Project is a three-year project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), New Zealand co-ventured by the Pacific Center of Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD), University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury (UC) under separate grant funding arrangements.