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Climate smart agriculture and Pacific views

Climate smart agriculture and Pacific views

Cancun, Mexico - Food security struggles of the Pacific islands caused by climate change, and how we are altering our way of life to meet them was showcased during the Cancun Climate Change Talks.

“Is climate-smart agriculture possible?” was the heading of the event organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The Pacific examples of work were presented by Dr Netatua Pelesikoti, Programme Manager for Pacific Futures of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). One of the main features of the popular event was the work done under the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project (PACC) which focuses on three priority areas - food security, coastal processes and water.

"Although each participating Pacific island country focuses on activities in any one of the national priority areas, the three are inter-connected when it comes to food security in the context of climate change impacts. For example prolonged drought periods, changing rainfall periods or salt water intrusion require climate-smart methods of cultivation, water conservation and new crops that are more resistant to changing climate variables” said Dr Pelesikoti.

“Our Pacific countries have selected their priority areas and are now working on practical ‘on the ground’ projects to adapt”.

PACC is the first Pacific region project which has accessed the special climate change fund by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it is a pilot project that will end in 2012 and covers 13 Pacific island countries and implemented through SPREP.

Dr Pelesikoti acknowledges that while these are significantly important projects for the Pacific, long term continual of such programmes is very important to ensure that Pacific islands countries resilient are strengthened and lessons learned from these pilot projects are replicated in other sectors in the country.

“Projected ocean acidification and changing pattern of ocean circulation and warming will adversely affect marine food sources and livelihoods for all the people of the Pacific when inshore and offshore key subsistence and commercial species are impacted by climate change. Needless to stress, we need further assistance and support to help address the many challenges of climate change and food security in a changing climate. This is a key adaptation strategy not only at the national level but to the last man or woman at the community level struggling to put food on the table for his or her family”

For more information on the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project please visit http://www.sprep.org/climate_change/PACC/country.htm

ENDS

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