31 July 2023, Nadi, Fiji. The Pacific Adaptation to Climate and Resilience Building (PACRES) project convened its fourth and final Project Steering Committee Meeting and Intra-ACP Lessons Learned in Climate Change and Disaster Resilience Workshop today, at the Novotel Hotel in Nadi, Fiji.
The PACRES project aims to enhance regional and national adaptation and mitigation solutions to address climate change challenges in 15 Pacific ACP countries and is jointly delivered by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP).
The week-long meeting brings together PACRES country practitioners and implementing partners to review progress of the project during 2022 – 2023 and consider programming of pending activities to be completed in the remainder of the project period. The Lessons Learned Workshop will provide an avenue for Intra-ACP practitioners from the Pacific and the Caribbean to share insights and discuss best practices in climate change and disaster resilience.
Reverend Ronald Stone offered a devotion and blessing for the meeting and reminded the participants of their duty to lead the Pacific through the challenges of climate change and ensure the resilience of our people. The PACRES project is primarily funded by the European Union (EU) Intra-ACP GCCA+ with targeted support from the Monaco and Swiss Confederation.
Through the project, the EU has recognised Pacific countries taking on additional responsibilities and implementing activities effectively and efficiently which has enhanced national ownership of the activities, and ownership lies at the heart of sustainability. The EU remains a steadfast ally of the Pacific through supporting and collaborating with Pacific Island countries in tackling existential challenges.
Ms Tagaloa Cooper, Director for SPREP’s Climate Change Resilience Project commended the EU and delivery partners for the joint collaboration to navigate the challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure implementation of the project continued. “There has been significant progress across all PACRES Key Result Areas, which is a testament to the combined efforts of our countries, regional agencies, and partners. Thank you for your efforts and the flexibility afforded all aspects of the project due to challenges from COVID-19.” She further said, “I commend you all for your perseverance to ensure that your activities under PACRES were successfully implemented across 14 ACP countries of the Pacific region and Timor Leste. Well done.“
On behalf of the delivery partners, PIFS Director for Programmes and Initiatives, Mr Zarak Khan highlighted the importance of strategic and collaborative partnerships in addressing climate change and disaster risk management. He said, “our leaders have endorsed the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific continent, this is our collective blueprint to advance Pacific regionalism”.
“The delivery partners have worked to ensure countries needs are addressed through the project activities, and this has been a culmination of those efforts from partners, our beneficiaries such as our critical communities and also the private sector”. These are crucial in ensuring effective response to the challenges faced by the Pacific.
Ms Cooper also acknowledged the enormity of the challenges faced by the Pacific to the adverse impacts of climate change, as well as the impacts to project implementation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Through perseverance we have driven the project forward at an unprecedented pace”.
She applauded the work of the PACRES countries. “Thank you for your ongoing support throughout the project life cycle and I commend your unwavering support and diligence in achieving project goals, especially considering the benefits to your communities always lay in your hands, and that PACRES activities brought and will continue to have a positive impact in your surroundings and most especially for our countries. Fakaue lahi.”
The PACRES country delegates and delivery partners also utilised the opportunity to celebrate thirty years since the signing of the SPREP Treaty, which formalised SPREP as an organisation by cutting of a cake to commemorate the anniversary.
The first day of the meeting focuses on project achievements in the Key Result Areas and hears from countries on their project experiences and highlights.