Friday 12 March 2020, Apia, Samoa – An online learning platform where Pacific island people can access information, foster learning, and engage in dialogue on climate change impacts, knowledge, capacity needs and innovation was launched today at the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) in Samoa.
The PCCC e-Learning platform is one that will serve the Pacific island Member countries of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) by providing, coordinating and facilitating capacity building and training through its Moodle-based platform.
Established in 2019, the PCCC is a response to climate change, which has been recognised by Pacific leaders as the single greatest threat to the security and livelihoods of Pacific island peoples. It is the physical hub that molds together the region’s ideas, visions, and needs by coordinating capacity building, investments, opportunities, innovation, and solutions.
When it was established, a series of trainings were scheduled to be carried out at the Centre for Pacific islanders in climate change, however, COVID-19 put a pause to the plans to bring these people together for training.
SPREP Director General, Mr Kosi Latu, said that the pandemic forced the PCCC and SPREP teams to find innovative ways of carrying out these trainings despite the border closures, to ensure that the work to become more resilient in the face of climate change continues.
“COVID-19 was an opportune time for us to be innovative and expand our thinking and reach through capacity building and training. Although we were limited in delivering our face-to-face regional and national capacity building workshops, the PCCC went virtual, with all training and capacity building now offered virtually,” Mr Latu said.
“In the past year, as the Centre and SPREP delivered courses through online webinar series or Zoom training courses, the PCCC invested in online learning, or e-learning. To reach our members during COVID, PCCC has taken onboard blended learning through online courses and on online learning platforms,” he added.
“Today we launch the SPREP PCCC e-Learning platform, a virtual platform that will hold PCCC Executive Courses or climate change training for participants endorsed by Member countries focal points.”
The platform currently has 12 courses, plus another 13 courses that have been identified and are in the pipeline to be delivered through this platform. Furthermore, the Centre will also be delivering and coordinating Open Learning Short Courses, Children’s Courses and Webinar Series through the PCCC website training page, which are intended for the public.
The PCCC e-learning platform and training page will act as an institutional knowledge broker that connects policymakers, practitioners, academics, advocates and researchers – in face everyone to take on climate action.
The Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Mr Akihiko Hoshino, spoke on behalf of the Government of Japan, expressing their appreciation for the efforts made by the PCCC and its initiatives to develop innovative tools and critical solutions despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“JICA projects suffered immensely from this unprecedented pandemic, thus cancelling many planned training programmes and activities. The new platform, however, will play a critical role, thriving through the negative impacts caused by the pandemic and will continue to enhance climate change resilience in the Pacific,” said Mr Hoshino.
“We share concerns that vulnerability to climate change in the Pacific is rising because of COVID-19. The importance of enhancing climate change resilience is increasing more than ever before.”
Mr Hoshino concluded by saying that he hopes that we will be able to restart in-person training programmes in the PCCC and meet with people from other Pacific nations here in Samoa and create a synergy of multiple delivery formats.
Speaking on behalf of the host government of SPREP and the PCCC, Ms Frances Brown-Reupena, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa, expressed that Samoa is proud to have partnered with the Government of Japan in realising the Pacific region’s dream of having a Centre of Excellence for climate change, and that they have witnessed the Centre grow from strength to strength.
“The niche that PCCC e-learning offers is the provision of specific Pacific context training and educational information on climate change for the Pacific. While learning from experts, we are also learning from ourselves and our work from each other, seeking the best solutions to our regional challenges,” Ms Brown-Reupena said.
“We encourage all future participants and students of this e-learning initiative to take full advantage of the knowledge and benefits offered on this e-learning platform,” she added.
Director General Latu emphasised that the work through e-learning continues. As Members request more training and capacity building on climate resilience, climate predictions, meteorology, climate science, finance, disaster resilience and other related topics, the PCCC will explore partnerships with Member countries through peer learning, international partners, organisations, universities and education sectors in the region and globally.
For more information, please contact Ms ‘Ofa Ma’asi-Kaisamy, Manager of the PCCC at [email protected].