12 April 2023, Port Moresby – The ‘lived reality’ of climate change impacts on Pacific communities is hard to ignore. One of many examples in the region is the Keapara community in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Situated on a protruding land mass (island), the community is linked to the mainland by a narrow strip of land that is frequently submerged during high tides. Due to its geographical location, access to fresh water has been a major problem, one of many challenges they are facing as a result of sea level rise associated with climate change.
But help is at hand through the European Union Intra-ACP GCCA Plus Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) Project.
The Keapara community comprises of three village hamlets adjacent to each other, namely Karawa, Alukuni and Keapara. Water supply has been a major challenge for the community made worse by climate change. Under an EU-GIZ Adapting to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (ACSE) project, several water tanks were provided to try and alleviate the problem. However, Karawa and Alukuni villages were not party to that arrangement.
PNG’s Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) has since identified the Keapara community for scaling up work and as part of the work done through the PACRES project, 80 water tanks (3500litres capacity) with associated materials, have been installed in the community.
One water tank has been installed per two households and members of the Keapara community now have access to clean drinking water, supplementing the existing bore water system.
Solar streetlights have also been strategically installed in the communal areas within the villages as power sources and for safe mobility and security. The project costs USD54,000.
“We’re excited to support the Keapara Community, these are real people with real lives that are impacted by climate change,” said PACRES Project Manager, Mr Semi Qamese. “We are grateful that funding from the European Union is making a positive difference in our Pacific communities.”
Last week, a joint mission of the PACRES Project teams from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) visited the Keapara community. The delegation met with key stakeholders, community representatives, and change agents to discuss project objectives and planned activities.
The site visit is crucial as it enabled the team to learn more about the community setting, leadership structures, validate information gathered during the feasibility study last year as well as observe first-hand the impacts of climate change on the livelihood of the Keapara community.
The joint mission was led by CCDA team, who have working closely with the two regional organisations in the implementation of the PACRES project in PNG.
The €12.18 million PACRES is funded primarily by the European Union with targeted support from the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Monaco and is delivered jointly by SPREP, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community (SPC) and USP.