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Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change

Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change at launch of Pacific environment report


Rising sea levels, fragile food and water supplies, contamination of soil and increasingly severe weather patterns are just some of the effects of climate change described by Pacific Island peoples in a Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand report to be launched on Saturday in South Auckland.

The report, Small yet strong: Voices from Oceania on the environment, draws from interviews conducted by Caritas with people across Oceania at grass roots and coastal edge level on the environmental challenges they face. It explores what people are experiencing, how they are responding and what they want to happen.

Keynote speakers at the launch include Amelia Ma’afu, Programmes Coordinator and Climate Change Officer for Caritas Tonga, who will speak about effects of climate change in Tonga, as well as an innovative climate change adaptation programme in the country that combines traditional local knowledge with scientific observations.

A second keynote speaker, Tihikura Hohaia, will detail how the Parihaka community in Taranaki struggles to exercise its kaitiakitanga (environmental guardianship) to protect traditional food sources and waterways from resource management decisions. And a panel will include speakers from Solomon Islands, West Papua and Avondale in Auckland.

“This report gives a voice to those affected by environmental changes in Oceania, and looks at how people are responding to those challenges and what solutions are needed,” says Caritas Director Julianne Hickey.

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