Pacific Ocean and Climate Crisis Assessment (POCCA) Research Project: A Path Towards a Sustainable Pacific
21 June 2023
In the face of escalating climate change and its devastating impacts on the Pacific region, the Pacific Ocean and Climate Crisis Assessment (POCCA) research project has emerged as a pioneering initiative aimed at comprehensively assessing the challenges and opportunities arising from the climate crisis.
During her opening remarks at the POCCA 2nd Authors Conference in Nadi, Mrs. Rebekah Robertson, Adviser for Climate Change and Environment at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), underscored the significance of the POCCA project in delivering crucial information to enhance decision-making processes.
She emphasized, “the research findings of POCCA will empower Pacific policymakers, governments, and communities to formulate precise resilience strategies in response to the impacts of climate change”.
The project, which is being carried out in close collaboration with Pacific countries, regional organizations, and development partners, aims to achieve a stable and prosperous Pacific through the integration of Pacific Indigenous knowledge systems with Western scientific approaches.
Recognizing the value and wisdom embedded within Pacific Indigenous knowledge systems, the POCCA project seeks to promote the harmonious integration of these systems with scientific approaches.
By acknowledging and incorporating traditional knowledge, the study strives to develop a holistic understanding of the climate crisis and its interconnectedness with ocean sustainability. This approach highlights the importance of cultural preservation and respects the unique perspectives of Pacific communities.
This achievement would not have been possible without the generous support and funding provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
MFAT plays a vital role in fostering people-to-people connections between New Zealand and Pacific Island countries. It encourages cultural exchanges, educational opportunities, and joint efforts in fields such as health, education, and sports.
“As we continue on this journey negotiating the impacts of climate change,” Mrs. Robertson said in her closing remarks, “we look to strengthen our whanaungatanga, our connections as whānau in the Pacific, to learn from one another to ensure that Pacific voices are heard”.
The POCCA research project represents a significant step towards achieving a stable and prosperous Pacific in the face of the climate crisis. By adopting an interdisciplinary and inclusive approach that combines Western scientific knowledge with Pacific Indigenous knowledge systems, the project offers a holistic understanding of the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change.
Through its emphasis on informed decision-making and empowerment of Pacific Island countries, POCCA has the potential to drive sustainable change and increase resilience in the Pacific region.
As the project continues to unfold, it will serve as a valuable resource and catalyst for transformative action in the fight against climate change in the Pacific.
The three-year project is funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) and is a collaboration between the Pacific Center for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD), the University of the South Pacific (USP), and the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury (UC).