Climate change in the Pacific: a strong start for a long journey
The final annual review meetings for two regional climate change initiatives, the Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP) and the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change project (PACC), were held between 28 July and 1 August in Nadi, Fiji. More than forty representatives from fifteen Pacific island countries met to discuss the progress, results, challenges and lessons learned from these projects, both of which are scheduled to close in December 2014.
PIGGAREP has been focused on mitigating greenhouse gases emissions, and removing barriers to the increased use of renewable energy and energy-efficient technology. Amongst the many positive results discussed at the review meeting, one of the most significant has been attracting donors to invest in feasibility studies for local renewable energy projects. These studies have, in turn, proven instrumental in unlocking larger funding sources for projects across the Pacific Island countries – with examples ranging from biofuel in Kiribati to solar power in Niue and hydropower in Samoa.
The PACC project has been focused on improving coastal management, water management and food/agricultural practices in light of a changing climate and environmental degradation. As participants at the review meeting heard, this initiative has also yielded many exemplary results, such as climate-proofing key infrastructure like coastal roads, which are particularly vulnerable in small island states; improved water management; and water security through better reservoir, storage and catchment facilities, as well as through the use of solar water purifiers.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has been managing these projects since 2008 and 2009, with the Secretariat for the Regional Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) acting as implementation partner in fifteen Pacific island countries.
Welcoming participants to the review meeting, SPREP Director Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti says “a collective commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions sends a clear message that island nations are treating climate change with the seriousness which it deserves.”