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Advancing Climate Resilience in the Pacific

22 May 2018, Bangkok, Thailand: The impact of climate change reaches all aspects of human life in the Pacific. Policymakers must select the priority adaptation actions from many options. UNDP and UN Environment are empowering effective climate change decision-making in the Pacific, to enhance resilience.

Representatives of Pacific Island governments will attend a regional workshop on how to appraise and prioritise climate change adaptation options from 28-31 May 2018 in Nadi, Fiji. With the goal to strengthen their national adaptation planning, the workshop will focus on the application of technical tools and methods for selecting priority actions to reduce vulnerability.

Climate change is already affecting societies and almost all economic sectors in the Pacific Islands, including water resources, food security, natural ecosystems and livelihoods. When the challenge is immense and resources are limited, prioritising the multitude of ‘adaptation options’ is key for advancing adaptation planning and implementation.

Prioritising climate change options means making tough and strategic decisions about where to invest finite resources and which sector to focus on. There is also a degree of uncertainty about climate change impacts in the Pacific - due in part to limited climate data, as well as a lack of understanding on the effects in specific sectors.

Pacific countries have called for an ‘up-skilling’ of their approaches to adaptation prioritisation.

“There is an urgent need for us to strengthen our sectoral prioritisation through rational analysis so we know where to target our efforts. This is important to strengthen our policy and legislative framework, institutional and coordination arrangements and to enhance environmental stability and improve climate and disaster resilience,” said Frances Reupena, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Environment Sector Division, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Samoa.

The training is an activity under the joint UNDP-UN Environment National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP), funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It will be facilitated by Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and experts from other organisations and the Pacific region, including the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Korea Environment Institute (KEI).

“UNDP, together with UN Environment and our programme partners, are responding to an expressed need from our Pacific island countries to build capacity for adaptation prioritisation. Effective and country ownership of adaptation options is crucial to developing robust National Adaptation Plans, and building resilience,” said Yvette Kerslake, Assistant Resident Representative, Environment, Energy & Climate Change, UNDP MCO Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.

As the lead regional coordinating agency with respect to climate change in the region, SPREP is supporting this initiative to help strengthen the resilience of the Pacific islands. SPREP is also committed to continuing this vital work beyond the workshop.

“The SPREP Campus in Samoa will be the home of the Pacific Climate Change Centre that will be in operation by August 2019. It will deliver capacity development programmes in adaptation, mitigation, climate services and amongst other priorities and it will belong to the people of the Pacific, providing the ongoing support for our Members to enhance resilience,” said Tagaloa Cooper Halo, the Director of Climate Change Resilience of SPREP.

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