Climate Change Overview
The Goal under the Climate Change Strategic Priority is that "By 2015, all Members will have strengthened capacity to respond to climate change through policy improvement, implementation of practical adaptation measures, enhancing ecosystem resilience to the impacts of climate change, and implementing initiatives aimed at achieving low-carbon development."
Climate change is already disproportionally affecting the islands of the Pacific. Although islanders have done little to contribute to the cause – less than 0.03% of current global greenhousegas emissions – they are among the first to be affected. Most islands are experiencing climate change impacts on communities, infrastructure, water supply, coastal and forest ecosystems, fisheries, agriculture, and human health. The consequences of sea level rise, sea temperature increases, ocean acidification, altered rainfall patterns, and overall temperature rise will be increasingly felt. SPREP has been designated by Pacific heads of government as the lead agency to coordinate the region's response to this challenge.
Under this first strategic priority, the Secretariat will support Members in planning and implementing national adaptation strategies (pilot projects included), and integrating climate change considerations into national planning and development processes. The emphasis is on guidelines for the most appropriate and best practices in policy development and adaptation. SPREP will lead the coordination of regional climate change policies and programmes through the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, the Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change and the CROP CEOs Working Group on Climate Change. With donors, it will develop partnerships for implementing adaptation and mitigation policies and programs in the region.
Awareness and understanding of the potential impacts on communities and livelihoods is essential. The strategies and targets of the region support education and awareness programmes as well as regional networks and information portals: these will improve the availability of climate change information to scientists, policy makers, and decision makers. It is also important to strengthen Members' ability to engage in climate change negotiations, access international funding sources, and meet their international responsibilities such as under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).