To the beautiful tune of ‘isalei’ ringing out loud in the Orchid Room, Pacific delegates at the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) Protect Steering Committee Meeting have embraced the latest tool in their arsenal to combat climate change.
The endorsement followed a comprehensive session on the last day of the meeting where they were introduced, and had the opportunity to trial the PACRES online Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) tool, designed to provide decision support for planning eco-based adaptation initiatives in the Pacific. EbA is a strategy for adapting to climate change that harnesses nature-based solutions and ecosystem services.
The session brought the curtains down on the-three day meeting at the Novotel Hotel where partners and country representatives knuckled down to review the project’s progress from 2021 to 2022 and discuss the next steps. A key part of those next steps will involve the support tool, which uses 'light' technology designed to suit the needs of Pacific Island planners at the national, subnational, and community levels. The delegates welcomed the tool.
“It is a very useful tool for the Pacific and small islands particularly for the planning sector. It’s a great tool that the Pacific can use to improve regional, national adaptation and mitigation solutions to climate change,” said Ms Anne Rasmussen, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Climate Change and GEF Division, Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE).
Niue’s Environment Project Coordinator for the Department of Environment, Ms Adorra Misikea, agrees, noting: “It’s a very functional tool that will assist small islands like Niue. It is even more helpful for our young people to utilise for their school researches as we work to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”
Like all things new, the delegates also pointed to areas where the tool could be improved. One of the issues highlighted was the challenge of access especially with poor internet connectivity faced by some Pacific nations. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme’s (SPREP) PACRESS Acting Manager, Mr Semi Qamese, acknowledged the concerns, and assured that where possible, the tool will be adapted and adjusted, in response to the needs of countries.
“We are very pleased to be able to provide this more modest tool tailored to the needs of planners across our Pacific countries. The idea is to provide guidance on the types of EbA interventions that may be considered depending on different local circumstances and requirements,” said Mr Qamese.
“The Pacific EBA tool utilises three guiding questions to identify possible EbA options and does not require the input of detailed datasets. Instead of detailed planning and design information, the tool provides links to information for planners to initiate scoping and selection of potential EbA options.”
HOW THE TOOL WORKS
1. Visit the website: https://eba-dev.specbee.site/node/41
3. Ask the user a number of questions to narrow down EbA options specific to the problem/issue and appropriate to their geographic circumstances and local requirements; eg:
· nature or extent of current problem or affected ecosystems;
· nature and value of existing ecosystem services;
· projected climate change impacts; and
· other stressors.
4. Each option would then be presented with supporting examples of good practice to assist decision makers scope appropriate EbA options to pursue in more detail: eg pros and cons of particular approaches; requirements and resources required to implement preferred options; and indicative costs
5. For each option the tool would then refer the user to organisations, resources, potential donors and other information for further support.
PACRES aims to improve regional, national adaptation and mitigation solutions to climate change concerns faced in 15 Pacific ACP countries. The 15 Pacific ACP countries are: Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The €12.18 million PACRES is funded primarily by the European Union (EU) with targeted support from Monaco and the Swiss Confederation and is delivered jointly by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programmme (SPREP), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP).