Enabling our Pacific Governments
In September this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release a special report on the ocean and the cryosphere, helping to give science based answers on how a changing climate will impact these areas, and us all.
As stewards of the world’s largest ocean, the report will be of great significance for our Pacific islands. The cryosphere, are all the places where water is frozen into ice or snow such as the Arctic or Antarctica. If and as these melt, this will cause changes upon our ocean.
This week in Samoa, Pacific Islanders have come together with the regional scientific community to strengthen engagement in the IPCC process of this special report which has several chapters of importance for our Pacific communities.
Chapters on Sea Level Rise and Implications for Low Lying Islands, Coasts and Communities; Changing Ocean, Marine Ecosystems, and Dependent Communities as well as Extremes, Abrupt Changes and Managing Risks will shape how we should plan for our future in the Pacific.
“Over the course of the two days, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) worked with the IMPACT Project and Climate Analytics to enable our Pacific Governments to develop their formal responses to this major scientific report, and to consider how they can use this new information,” said Ms Tagaloa Cooper-Halo, Director of Climate Change Resilience of SPREP.
“In this age of climate change, science plays a key role in informing our decisions. These types of reports from the esteemed scientific body provide us with both the wake-up call for urgent action on climate change as well as how we can best prepare for what is happening now and scientifically proven to come our way.”
The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) is the second of two Special Reports to be finalised this year, following the soon-to-approved report on Climate Change and Land. These reports were preceded by last year’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC which has provided essential insights for the Pacific region. Once the Special Reports have been accepted, the next stage is to ensure the reports are acknowledged and officially endorsed by the global community.
We must ensure that we use this report – to understand the findings in the context of our of our everyday work on the ground in the Pacific,” said Ms Cooper Halo.
The two day gathering on the IMPACT workshop on the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate will aim to strengthen Pacific capacity to engage with the IPCC process and review the final draft and the Summary for policy makers with a focus on key issues for the Pacific islands.
The meeting will also prepare for engagement of this Special Report as we lead up to the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Chile this year, also known as the “Blue COP”.
“The Global Warning of 1.5º - it’s very important keep it at, or below, that level. We are very vulnerable to climate change and we do not want to be displaced by rising sea levels. The most important part of this is the people. And the IPCC helps with this,” said Ms Rima’ati Moetka’a, Climate Change Nation Reporting, Office of the Prime Minister, Cook Islands
Now in the final government review stage, the Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere will be before the 51st session of the IPCC from 20 – 23 September for approval which accepts the underlying report.
The IMPACT Workshop on IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate was held from 29 – 30 July, 2019 in Apia, Samoa. It brings both the Pacific climate change and meteorological community together from the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu together with UNFCCC and IPCC technical experts from 5 other Pacific nations.
The IMPACT Project is a partnership between Climate Analytics and SPREP aiming for science-based implementation of 1.5 compatible climate action for Least Developed Countries and Small Islands Developing States.
For further information please contact Patrick Pringle, Climate Analytics Consultant to SPREP at [email protected].
Please visit for further information on the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate or the IPCC Special Report on 1.5.