Griffith supports regional management of climate change information in the Pacific

Professor Ian O'Connor & Dr Netatua Pelesikoti at SPREP MOU signing
Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O'Connor and Dr Netatua Pelesikoti at SPREP MOU signing

Griffith University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with theSecretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) opening the door to innovative projects and research in climate change information management.

The event was hosted by Griffith UniversityVice Chancellor and President,Professor Ian O’Connor, who welcomed Dr Netatua Pelesikoti, Director of Climate Change Division, (SPREP).

The MoU signing was held at the “Pacific iCLIM” Information Climate Change project inception workshop and symposium in Brisbane on 28 April 2014. The purpose of the project is to enhance climate change adaptation and resilience planning in the Pacific by supporting the development and implementation of a regional approach to climate change information management and sharing through strengthening the Pacific Climate Change Portal (PCCP).

This project will involve Griffith University’s Professor Brendan Mackey, Director of the Griffith Climate Change Response Group; Malcolm Wolski, Director of eResearch Service and Scholarly Application Services, Sam Mackay, Senior Analyst, Climate Change, and project management support from the International Business Development Unit, Griffith International.

Government representatives and leading experts from key entities from the Pacific region attended the workshop and symposium with their contribution ensuring the success of iCLIM.

This builds on the activities and training programs in e-waste management, already underway between Griffith University’s Professor Sunil Herat and SPREP’s Professor David Haynes, an expert in pollution prevention and waste management.

Professor Ian O’Connor said the partnership was further cementing Griffith’s position in the Pacific, reinforcing our role as a national leader in climate change information management.

“Working together with SPREP and other organisations, this project is hoped to provide a great benefit to the region, ensuring climate change information management for the nations and communities in the South Pacific so they can adapt to rapidly changing conditions and better manage the risks associated with extreme weather events,” Professor O’Connor said.

SPREP is an intergovernmental organisation charged with promoting co-operation, supporting protection and improvement of the Pacific islands environment, and ensuring its sustainable development. Established in 1982, SPREP is based in Apia, Samoa, with over 90 staff and 26 member governments.

Dr Netatua Pelesikoti thanked the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for supporting and iCLIM and funding the program through the Government Partnerships for Development. Pacific iCLIM closely mirrors the recent Government of Australia’s Pacific Climate Change Science Programme and acknowledges the support for the Pacific Ocean Governance Initiative. SPREP’s collaboration with Griffith University started with an MOU in 2012. SPREP values this collaboration as climate change information and management is crucial for informed decision making in responding to the challenges of climate change in the Pacific Islands and territories in the context of national sustainable development priorities.

The Pacific iCLIM project is supported by the Government Partnerships for Development program (an Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade initiative) and being implemented by Griffith University in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).