As part of the Pacific Ocean & Climate Crisis Assessment (POCCA) project agreement, The University of the South Pacific staff from the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) is currently on a 2-week staff exchange to the University of Canterbury (UC), in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Working closely with its partner team from the Macmillan Brown Centre (MBC), the POCCA project seeks to represent a pioneering endeavour to assess local adaptation and resilience capacity, weaving together scientific, cultural, and traditional knowledge and innovative research in the face of climate change.
According to Dr Hilda Waqa-Sakiti, Team Leader for the POCCA-PaCE-SD team, the exchange aims to strengthen the partnership to effectively deliver the project’s main outputs.
“The USP-UC Staff Exchange has been designed to allow for better planning and effective collaboration between the POCCA project partners (USP & UC) for effective project delivery on the four project outputs-POCCA Assessment Report, Publications, Database and the Interactive Map respectively,” she said.
“The purpose for this exchange is to develop a working plan for the team in finalising the POCCA Report with the integration of community case studies, narratives and fieldwork images aligned to the report’s thematic areas representative of the 16 POCCA countries,” Dr Waqa-Sakiti added.
The POCCA project stands as a pioneering initiative that not only assesses the impacts of the climate crisis on the Pacific but amplifies the voices of Pacific communities.
Speaking on behalf of the UC-MBC team, team leader Dr Christina Laalaai-Tausa said that the exchange offers a unique opportunity for the two teams to review the progress made and plug identifiable gaps in moving the project forward.
“As the project progresses to the final 8 months, this exchange has provided a fantastic opportunity to meet, review, assess and plan with priorities and division of labour. Our next milestone is in December of 2023, and we are in line to achieve, complete and deliver on this.”
The POCCA project has 4 key outputs.
The first output is the POCCA assessment report, which serves as the cornerstone of the project, encapsulating the essence of the Pacific narrative in the face of climate change.
The second output is research papers and policy briefs, which seek to disseminate scholarly contributions to provide a robust foundation for policymakers, researchers, policy makers, researchers, and communities to understand the intricacies of climate challenges and formulate evidence-based strategies.
The third output aims to produce a digital database with a reservoir of information offering a centralised repository for the wealth of data collected by POCCA.
The fourth and final output seeks to transform the wealth of data and case studies gathered by the POCCA team into an interactive, user-friendly platform providing a visual testament to the rich tapestry of experiences woven by Pacific communities in response to the climate crisis.
The respective POCCA teams will look to further review the progress of the project when the staff exchange is reciprocated early next year in Suva.
Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT), New Zealand, the three-year POCCA project is a collaborative effort between the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) at the University of the South Pacific and the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury.