The importance of thorough consultation with the community and resource owners, aligning with government priorities and country aspirations that ensures all stakeholders understand project goals, were among the lessons highlighted by countries during the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Scaling up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+ SUPA) Steering Committee Meeting.
Held virtually on 27 and 28 April, the meeting enabled countries to share successes and challenges in implementing sector-based, but integrated, climate change and disaster risk management strategies, designed to enhance climate change adaptation and resilience. Highlights that are critical as the project forges the path ahead amidst the rising challenges of COVID-19 and climate change.
The countries involved include the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu. Building the capacity of each country to strengthen climate change adaptation efforts in sectors responsible for providing water, food, health, marine resources and coastal protection were highlighted by all the participating countries. They all expressed gratitude to the European Union (EU) for funding support.
During the opening session, Secretary to FSM’s Department of Environment Climate Change and Emergency Management, Mr Andrew Yatilman, said the gathering was an opportunity to focus on the highlights for the past seven months, since the previous Steering Committee Meeting held in September 2021.
“FSM acknowledges the consistency of the European Union’s support for climate change over the past ten years, they started with the GCCA Small Islands States Project, then progressed into the EU North Pacific readiness for El Nino Project, and now the GCCA + SUPA project,” Mr Yatilman said. “This has allowed us to trial, learn and expand our efforts to provide water security in the outer islands of FSM. Outer islands present special challenges for development projects but the EU support has allowed us to trial water security work in the farthest island and applied the lessons learnt, and now with the scope of SUPA to scale up these efforts in the northwest islands of Chuuk State.”
The highlights from the countries were presented over two days. The first day featured highlights from FSM presented by Mr Sean Kadannged and Mr Winfred Mudong, Kiribati presented by Ms Alice Tekaieti-Tekena and Mr Teuea Tebau, Nauru presented by Mr Tyrone Deiye and Ms Erana Aliklik, Niue presented by Mr Taveli Pavihi and Ms Alana Rex and Tuvalu, presented by Mr Sitia Maheu and Mrs Vasa Saitala.
Mr Teariki Rongo, Ms Fiona Pearson and Ms Celine Dyer of the Cook Islands kicked off the highlights presentation for day two. This was followed by Ms Shayal Kumar and Mr Krishneel Karan, of Fiji, Mr Dustin Langidrik, Ms Tamar Capelle and Ms Kilobar Lakmis, of the Marshall Islands, Mr Joseph Aitaro, of Palau with Mr Fuka Kitekei’aho, of Tonga wrapping up the session.
The GCCA+ SUPA project is delivered and supported by the three implementing organisations, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), University of the South Pacific (USP) and The Pacific Community (SPC), utilising a people-centred approach.
SPREP is tasked with delivering an impact methodology to assess past adaptation interventions as part of Output 1, which targets the strengthening of strategic planning at national levels. Project lead for SPREP GCCA+ SUPA, Ms Monifa Fiu, provided the highlights for Output 1. The highlights for Output 2, which focuses on capacity building and training, were provided by Mrs Teresia Powell, of USP while SPC’s Project Finance Officer, Mr Sheik Irfaan, provided the highlights for on-the-ground activities and an update on the project budget with the rate of spending.
The representative of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Mr Gabor Sasvari, acknowledged the successes, challenges and the plans in place that were shared during the Steering Committee meeting. He said the EU is delighted to work with the project, reminding that the EU is a longstanding partner of the Pacific, underpinning the organisation’s commitment to help Pacific countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The next Steering Committee Meeting is scheduled for September 2022.
ABOUT THE GCCA+ SUPA PROJECT
The four and a half year project (2019-2023) is funded with € 14.89 million from the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with SPREP and The University of the South Pacific (USP), in collaboration with the governments and peoples of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu.
SPREP leads the development of an impact analysis methodology for the GCCA+ SUPA project, its field testing and application with further building capacity of member countries to guide strategic adaptation planning purpose in the ten Pacific Island countries.