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Fiji: Five year climate change project reviewed

Regional five year climate change adaptation project reviewed in Fiji this week

28 July 2014,

Nadi, Fiji - The wide-ranging impact of the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project was highlighted this morning at the opening ceremony of a meeting of all partners, the final multi-partite review. The project ends in December this year.

It's a project with much to celebrate and to learn from, having impacted positively upon over 54,000 people from 80 villages in all Pacific island countries.

"This review, the final one for the project, is not any ordinary review that has been conducted as part of this project. This is the grand finale of all reviews, given that the project is due to end in December, 2014. This meeting is therefore a very significant event," said Dr. Mahendra Kumar, Director of the Fiji Climate Change Division, during his keynote speech.

"I wish you all a productive week of deliberations and look forward to the results of the review as well as the launching of publications and technical reports emanating from this project."

Starting in 2009, the project has worked in 14 Pacific island countries, helping to adapt to climate change by targeting one of the three key areas of food security and production, water resource management and coastal protection.

The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project is the culmination of a partnership funded by the Global Environment Facility and the Government of Australia. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the implementing agency and SPREP is the implementing partner, responsible for coordination and overall project management.

The project has three key components; to help effect policy change through strengthening mainstreaming of climate change; carry out demonstration projects and; develop tools and resources.

“PACC is the largest regional climate change adaptation project that has enabled implementation of particle and tangible results on the ground,” said Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti, Director of Climate Change of SPREP at the opening of the meeting.

“PACC has also helped to establish the necessary enabling environments, including mainstreaming of climate change and climate variability into policy and development planning.”

The PACC project has been the impetus for new improved water reservoir and management systems in the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu and Niue. It was also the catalyst for the launch of a renovated harbour in the Cook Islands and new climate change resilient food crops in Fiji and the Solomon Islands.

All PACC countries have new infrastructure in place as part of their demonstration projects, with Tuvalu, Tonga, Marshall Islands and Nauru now replicating these.

"I like to think that some of the work that we've done in the past five years has basically built key stepping stones, which I think we can build on from here," said Ms. Lizbeth Cullity, the United Nations Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative Samoa, Niue, Cook Islands and Tokelau in her opening statement.

"It is now timely to ask ourselves - how can we build on the knowledge and on the physical structures that we've been able to implement?"

Through the work of PACC over the past 4 years, policy changes have been made that deliver immediate benefits of reducing vulnerability to emerging climate risks in all 14 Pacific island countries.

An average of two policy changes have taken place at the national level per country, with an overall of 24 national policies, legal instruments, policy frameworks, institutional establishment strategies being developed, amended or ‘further amended’.

"I just wanted to reflect upon the importance of lessons learnt at the country level and there's one particular story and lesson that sticks in my mind, the lessons we learnt here will inform us all and how to do this better," said John Morley, First Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Australia when addressing the participants at the opening of the meeting.

"The story of a village that needed water tanks set on a hill but didn't have a lot of resources, no fancy cranes or trucks however it had a great football team and it used that team to cart the water tanks up to the village and set them up. Thank you, Tonga for sharing this story. Our Pacific communities have a lot of resilience, spirit and heart. We've been a very proud partner of PACC."

The one week meeting brings together all PACC coordinators, donors, development partners to review the work undertaken over the past five years. This will be an opportunity to discuss what worked well and what should be recommended for future similar regional projects.

The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project countries are Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The 5th Multipartite Review Meeting of the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Projects is held in Nadi, Fiji from 28 July to 1 August.

ENDS

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