The Pacific region: Cooperation in action Addressing climate change in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
Oceans cover 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface and contain about 97 per cent of the planet’s water. They support unique habitats and are connected with the global cycles of water, energy and carbon. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent report on oceans (External link) underscores that the impact of global climate change upon the oceans threatens human communities living in coastal environments and small islands, which are home to 65 million people.
Small Island Developing States such as the Pacific islands are among those affected earliest and most by the effects of climate change, despite being the source of less than one per cent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Sea-level rise coupled with more frequent and intensive extreme weather events, such as tropical cyclones, directly affect the food security, livelihoods, health and well-being of the local populations.
In Tuvalu, Cyclone Pam displaced 45 per cent of the population in 2020. Even the more optimistic estimates of future sea-level rise predict half of the capital of Tuvalu to be inundated by tides on a daily basis by the year 2050. Some Pacific islands are already making preparations for major changes. For instance, on the Fiji Islands entire villages are being resettled to higher land. The Marshall Islands are considering raising the elevation of islands by excavating material from the sea floor and depositing it on the land surface.
Compelled by the idea that more can be achieved if small island states work together, regional initiatives such as the Hub in the Pacific region enable their member countries to cope better with the challenges of climate change.
Regional Pacific NDC Hub
Funded by Germany (BMZ), New Zealand (MFAT), Australia (DFAT) and the European Union, the Regional Pacific Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Hub (External link) is a platform that helps Pacific island countries to find the data, resources and expertise needed to implement their NDCs. In this way, it seeks to contribute to low-carbon and climate-resilient development in the region. When concrete activities are undertaken, two regional organisations, the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), play a pivotal role beside GIZ and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
The Hub currently serves fourteen member countries: the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. It responds to requests for support from these members, providing inputs to deliver the following results:
- Improved NDC planning, policy, strategy and legislation
- Strengthened enabling environment for NDC implementation
- Accelerated NDC action and project/programme implementation
- Enhanced NDC measurement, reporting and verification and transparency of climate action
The Hub has provided technical assistance to the NDC updating processes of Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa and Tuvalu. Nauru was assisted in reviewing the national water supply and wastewater management plan in order to determine the relevance of sustainable access to water and safeguard such access for the population. Furthermore, the Solomon Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Fiji have benefitted from assistance in drawing up and enhancing their monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems. Further assistance is planned for Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Tonga, Niue and the Cook Islands.
As at: 01/11/2023