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The Regional Dialogue on “Pacific Climate Change Centre – Promise and Offer to Pacific island Countries and Territories amid the pandemic”, designed to enhance the key roles and functions of the Centre for a resilient Pacific, officially commenced this morning, both virtually and face-to-face for participants in Samoa. 

The Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC), a regional Centre of Excellence for climate change information, research, capacity building and innovation, was funded under grant aid from the Government of Japan to the Government of Samoa, and is hosted at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) campus in Vailima, Samoa. The Government of New Zealand also provided additional resources to operationalise the Centre. 

Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Samoa, Peseta Noumea Simi, provided the keynote remarks to officially open the Regional Dialogue earlier this morning. 

According to Peseta, Samoa continues to reaffirm together with other Pacific island countries that climate change represents the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security, and wellbeing of its people. As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), Samoa shares with other SIDS the characteristics of being economically vulnerable and ecologically fragile because of its geographical location, isolation and limited resources. 

“Samoa is at the frontline of climate change. It has experienced firsthand some of the worst and devastating effects to its social, environmental and economic sectors to name a few. This is a global problem requiring an urgent, immediate and a sustained global response,” Peseta said. 

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with SPREP and the PCCC to implement practical solutions and actions to combat climate change and increase the resilience of our people,” she concluded by saying. 

Director General of SPREP, Mr Kosi Latu, reiterated that the PCCC is a shared regional asset, belonging to the people of the Pacific, with the support of development partners committed to the resilient development of Pacific island countries and territories.

“I am pleased today that the PCCC will take you through a deep dive into their services and functions through capacity building training and learning, applied research, knowledge brokerage and innovation. The PCCC activities will span four main themes: Climate change science and services; climate change adaptation; mitigation and low carbon futures; and climate finance.”

Through these services and functions the vision of the Centre will become a reality, to be a highly globally respected Centre of Excellence providing practical information, support and training to address the climate change adaptation and mitigation practices of Pacific communities. 

The Ambassador of Japan to Samoa, His Excellency Genichi Terasawa, stressed the importance of partnerships in tackling the climate crisis. 

“Given the unprecedented era of extreme weather and climate disasters, and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are indeed at the edge of the abyss. However, if we work together, we can avert the worst impacts of climate disruption, and use the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to steer us on a cleaner, greener path,” H.E. Terasawa said. 

“As a friend sharing the Pacific, I hope this dialogue would continue to encourage the Pacific islands to work on plans and initiatives that are ambitious, credible, and verifiable, and broaden partnerships toward building a more resilient Pacific,” he added. “As expectations are growing for the role of the PCCC, with its vision of a globally respected Centre of Excellence, let it be to promote a safe and sustainable future for all.” 

Mr Desmond Tupangaia of the New Zealand High Commission to Samoa, stated that New Zealand is committed to tackling climate change alongside its Pacific partners, and their support to the PCCC is part of this.  

“New Zealand will continue to support the Pacific’s fight on climate change both on the global stage and at home in the Pacific. We share the Pacific’s goal of an ambitious and effective global response to climate change,” Mr Tupangaia said.

“New Zealand’s support for key roles within the PCCC is part of its Climate change programme commitment. We are pleased to see the Centre is now fully operational, and we support the PCCC’s vision and priorities for 2021 and a focus on capacity building, knowledge brokerage, applied research and innovation.” 

The two-day dialogue, from 26 – 27 May 2021, is hosted by SPREP and the PCCC through a blended platform – face-to-face for participants residing in Samoa and virtually for those joining from abroad. 

For more information, please contact Ms ‘Ofa Ma’asi-Kaisamy, PCCC Manager, at [email protected]