HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Project will help countries adapt to impacts of climate change

Vaine Wichman has been recruited to coordinate the USP -European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (USP-EU GCCA) project in the Cook Islands. She explains what the project is about and her role.
The USP-EU GCCA project finalized and signed last December, is a 4 year project aimed at meeting the challenges of climate change in the 15 Pacific ACP countries (Cook Islands included) through Capacity Building, Community Engagement, and Applied Research.
Project objective
The objective of this project is to develop and strengthen the Pacific ACP countries’ capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This objective will be achieved through the training of local, national and regional experts on climate change and adaptation and the development and implementation of sustainable strategies for community adaptation to climate change, based on improved understanding of impacts of climate change and variability in the Pacific region (I will be involved mainly in this component).
It is also expected that the project will contribute to the establishment of a network of local, national and regional specialists on climate change who will support communities, governments within PACP countries, NGOs, and regional organizations in their efforts to address the effects of climate change through a long-term, sustainable approach.
Building capacity
The Capacity Building component will cover both non-formal and formal training. The non-formal training will organise capacity building workshops and training of trainers program to improve the knowledge and skills of the climate change practitioners in the region. This knowledge and skills will focus on climate change related topics, but also on practical management skills, such as project management, written and oral presentation, reporting, monitoring and evaluation of project, conflict management, etc.
Two sessions of the non formal training programs will be carried on within the duration of the projects. The topics and skills covered by these sessions will be determined by the needs and demands from the practitioners. The formal training will lead to the development of new courses on climate change related topics (e.g. climate science, socio-economics of climate change, disaster risk management, agro-forestry and climate change) and will offer scholarships to students at the Post-graduate, Masters and PhD levels.
Research projects
Research projects of the masters and PhD students will focus on improving the knowledge of climate variability and change impacts in the region, and/or on the development/improvement of adaptation measures tailored for the needs of the communities of the region.
The research projects of the students will also be related to the Applied Research Component. The goal of this component is to provide data and tools to help with a better understanding of the impacts of climate change in the region and with the determination of adaptation strategies best adapted to these impacts.
This component will involve the statistical analysis of model generated databases and the determination of the reliability of the model outputs at high geographical resolution, the development of plausible projections of national/local climate variability and extremes for two different timeframes (model projections at 20 and 50 years), the analysis of the likely impacts of climate change, the review and formulation of adaptation strategies and practices for specific sectors and regions of the Pacific Islands. This could include vulnerable communities in regions such as low-lying atolls, deltas, or coastal communities.
Adaptation projects
The formulation of appropriate adaptation strategies and practices could be used in national strategies drawing on the experience in the region (and elsewhere).
The Community Engagement component will help about 40 communities (demonstration sites) I will be supporting this component within the 15 Pacific ACP countries to adapt to climate change.
The adaptation projects realised in the communities will cover the vulnerable sectors identified in each country by the NAPA and/or the National Communication. This component will progress following a specific framework. A review of best adaptation practices in the region will first be realised.
One of my first tasks will be to work with you to develop a team (a national coordination group) that will assist in providing guidance, oversight and advice to progress this component and who will assist in identifying possible project sites for this project’s consideration.
Community meetings
The first meetings with the identified communities will focus on raising awareness about the project and facilitating a basic understanding of climate change and its projected impacts in the local environments of each community (as you can see there is a bit of duplication in this component with some other related work already conducted or scheduled to be implemented this year in our country).
Participatory V&A assessments will be realised in each identified community by a facilitator, supported by the in-country coordinator and external experts if needed. As soon as the final version of the V&A assessment will be approved by the community, the Community Climate Change Adaptation plan will be developed. Adaptation practices will be reviewed, manuals and/or toolkits will be distributed to help the communities to establish their adaptation plan. Soft, low cost adaptation measures will be preferentially chosen, so that their maintenance and follow-up can be realised by the community. Soft measures also have the advantage of being more flexible, so they can be adjusted regularly to new conditions.
Project acceptance
Once accepted, the adaptation plan will be implemented by the communities, with the help of the in-country coordinator and of technical experts if needed, and with the support of the project management team (distribution of guidelines for project governance, etc.). The progress of each community, or demonstration site, will be continuously monitored by the in-country coordinator and the project management team.
A National Project Advisory Committee (one of my first tasks) established in every Pacific ACP country will help to prevent duplication.
Networking information
This component also encompasses the creation of an information network (the Locally Managed Climate Change Adaptation or LMCCA network) within these communities that will be later expanded to disseminate lessons learned at the demonstration sites to other communities in the region.
Accessing information
All information and data collected during the project, especially from the Community Engagement and Applied Research components will be stored at the USP Knowledge Centre, together with the results of the review of regional best adaptation practices.
The goal of this structure is to insure that the data, information and lessons learned during this project are stored and made accessible to the people in the region. This information will be available online on a specific website in English and in other languages used in the region, but hard copies will also be available on demand.
The USP Knowledge Centre will also gather and centralize information and comment from the LMCCA network.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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