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Micronesia endorses Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change

Micronesia Leaders Summit endorses the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project

9 August 2011, Port Vila, Vanuatu - Support for the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Project to be ingrained as a strategy alongside the Micronesian Challenge Framework was endorsed at the 15th Micronesian Chief Executives’ Summit.

In July this year at the annual summit of all high level Micronesian leaders, a presentation on PACC was made which led to plans for a PACC committee to be formed under the Micronesian Chief Executives’ Summit. This now means that a progress report of the regional project is to be made at each summit.

“I am very excited, these are some of the high level and top down results that we wanted for the PACC project to achieve,” said Peniamina Leavai, project officer of PACC.

“This is only the start. We haven’t gotten down to the positive outcome of building the ability for local communities to adapt and this is something we plan to achieve over the next couple of years.”

PACC is a 13 million dollar project that supports adaptation to climate change projects in three main areas – food security and production, coastal management and water resources management. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is an implementing partner with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

In the Federated States of Micronesia, the PACC project is a success story having helped bring about a climate change law in Kosrae which ensures climate change is a consideration when it comes to building infrastructure and Environmental Impact Assessments.

According to Leavai - “There are plans to replicate this climate change legislation in the other islands of FSM, Yap and Chuuk are now looking into this possibility.”

This legislation is part of the project which is focusing on coastal management in partnership with the Asian Development Bank to build roads, electricity lines and drainage that will ensure safe, usable roads to provide access to the whole island for residents.

In Palau, President Johnson Toribiong has fully endorsed the support from his government for the PACC project, hoping it can become part of the national Green Revolution policy. The adaptation project in Palau addresses the issue of food security and food production through the design of stronger varieties of taro to withstand all climate change impacts.

“The PACC was very well received by the President of Palau,” said Leavai, “he congratulated us after the presentation and is keen for the project to be taken seriously in his country.”

The Marshall Islands, the third country in Micronesia that is part of the PACC project, is focusing on water resource management, planning to increase the storage capacity of water to benefit the residents of Majuro. Work is planned to strengthen the Laura Lens and upscale the water reservoir system which collects water from the airstrip on Majuro to allow for a larger storage capacity for residents, especially in view of two to three month drought periods projected as a results of climate change.

These three Micronesian countries aim to help the PACC become the climate change adaptation framework for the sub region as an extension of the Micronesia Challenge which is a shared commitment by the Governments to conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.

“For PACC this is great news, we are excited the PACC is welcome to come on board as a strategy within the Micronesia Challenge Framework which has proven to be a successful unity to address nature conservation, we see great developments ahead for the people of Micronesia to build their ability to adapt to climate change.”

For more information on PACC please visit: www.sprep.org/climate_change/pacc

ENDS

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