30 August 2022, Nadi, Fiji – The importance of engaging, understanding and working hand-in-hand with the community has been identified as a critical component for the successful implementation of the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) project.
The point was echoed by the speakers during the opening session of the third PACRES Project Steering Committee at Novotel Hotel in Nadi, Fiji. The project, designed to improve regional, national adaptation and mitigation solutions to climate change concerns in 15 Pacific ACP countries, is being delivered jointly by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP).
The three-day meeting in Fiji has brought together PACRES country representatives and partners to discuss the progress and the best way forward, as the region struggles to deal with the adverse impact of climate change.
Reverend Wame Boselawa set the scene, reminding the participants that climate change is the most serious threat faced by Pacific countries, which requires a collective effort from the community, donors and all partners to address it.
“Humanity must remember that we are called to be stewards of God’s creation and not owners,” Rev Boselawa said, adding that everyone has a responsibility to care for the environment. As a resident of the Pacific, he expressed gratitude for all the help being given to mitigate and help Pacific communities to adapt to climate change.
PACRES is funded primarily by the European Union (EU) with targeted support from Monaco and the Swiss Confederation. The EU’s Programme Manager for PACRES, Mr Gabor Sasvari, said they recognise and have always acknowledged that Pacific countries are at the forefront of climate change impact. He encouraged feedback from countries on how they could further provide support to suit their needs. “The European Union has a long-standing partnership with the Pacific countries to address climate change and has been scaling up funds available for climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Pacific region and across the globe,” he said.
SPREP’s Director of Climate Change Resilience, Ms Tagaloa Cooper-Halo, acknowledged the EU and the project’s partner countries for their ongoing support despite the COVID-19 challenges. He also thanked the country teams for their tireless work especially at a time when countries have so many other higher priorities.
“It is a joy to see the involvement of our young people, women and men in the project activities and the resulting benefits of these actions,” Cooper-Halo said.
“At this important junction of getting things back to normal, we look towards what we have been able to achieve during this challenging time. And even though the delivery of PACRES activities has been impacted, we are optimistic that implementation is forward moving.”
She also encouraged the project teams to be diligent in the work to achieve project goals because at the end of the day the benefit to your community lies in your hands.
“Please do utilise our PACRES PMU team for the support your need and communicate with them as much as possible so they can assist. The COVID 19 pandemic has impacted our work in many ways, with mitigation actions in place we can now forge ahead with confidence! I pray that PACRES activities make a positive impact in your surroundings and most especially for your countries.”
The first day of the meeting focused on the Overview of the project, Finances and the impact of COVID-19 among other topics.
PACRES aims to improve regional, national adaptation and mitigation solutions to climate change concerns faced in 15 Pacific ACP countries. The 15 Pacific ACP countries are: Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The €12.18 million PACRES is funded primarily by the European Union (EU) with targeted support from Monaco and the Swiss Confederation and is delivered jointly by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programmme (SPREP), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP).