Federal Environment Ministry steps up cooperation with Pacific island countries on adaptation against the impacts of climate change

With funding from the German Federal Environment Ministry, a new project has been launched that aims to protect coastal regions and ecosystems in Pacific island countries from the impacts of climate change.

A corresponding agreement was signed by Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter and David Sheppard, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, at a meeting held in the run-up to the UN Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa.

Rising sea levels, ocean acidification and increasingly frequent storms are threatening the livelihoods of many people living in Pacific island countries. The project, entitled 'Natural Solutions to Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region' will support ecosystem-based measures to protect coastal regions and vital ecosystems on Pacific islands.

At the meeting in Samoa, Schwarzelühr-Sutter stressed the importance of these ecosystems to island states, both in terms of maintaining natural resilience to climate change and ensuring the livelihood of local people. On this basis, the project aims to identify ecosystem services that are essential to the human population, such as protection from floods and storms, and food security. At the same time, the project partners are investigating threats to the future delivery of these services. Using this information, the project will develop appropriate strategies for preserving and using these ecosystem services in future, which will help people living in Pacific island countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The project is being piloted in the three island states of Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme intends to share the information and experience it has gathered in these pilot regions with its other member states, which will help them develop their own adaptation measures.

Via the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) is supporting a number of cooperation projects with small island states in the fields of climate change mitigation, renewable energy and the conservation of biodiversity, providing a total of EUR 120 million in funding. EUR 5 million has been allocated to this particular project, ensuring that cooperation with the Pacific region, which has proved fruitful so far, will continue until 2019.