A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Posted 1:52 PM by Tevita
Pacific People Hard Hit by Climate Change
From : UNDP
[Suva, December 19] - UNDP’s Human Development Report seeks to add a new dimension
to the global climate change debate – climate change will compound poverty and vulnerability. It is estimated that a rise in global temperature in excess of 2 degree centigrade will cause irreversible damage, and may well reverse recent gains in Human Development. The Human Development Report, Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World, estimates that the world will have to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by half by 2050, relative to 1990 levels, in order to avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change. This will require rich countries to cut emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, with cuts of 30 per cent by 2020. Emissions from developing countries are expected to peak around 2020, and thereafter will need to effect reductions of 20 per cent by 2050. Since the Kyoto Protocol, such targets and their relation to economic growth have been hotly debated. When climate change will affect rainfall patterns, it is estimated that poorer nations will see a 15 percent decline in agricultural productivity. As these are countries where people eat what they grow, this will affect their nutritional status, economic resilience and the future of their children. UNDP not only calls for urgent international action to cut emissions and to ensure that these vulnerabilities are addressed, they also express unambiguous concerns with the long term global progress in human development and the Millennium Development Goals, which have not yet been achieved. Climate change may lead to a slow down if not a reversal of progress and it is estimated that the Pacific will be amongst the regions most strongly affected. Pacific people face the greatest risk of becoming poorer, getting displaced from their homes and regressing in their development as a result of climate change. While the Small Islands Developing States in the Pacific are amongst the lowest carbon emitters, they will be the first to suffer from climate change. In the next ten years if the average temperature were to increase beyond two degrees Celsius sea level rises will see a number of Pacific islands disappear from the face of the map, the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2007/2008 warns. The report that was launched by the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Richard Dictus, in Suva today warns that climate change can result in annual damage costs of up to seven percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu. “Many coastal communities in the Pacific could be seriously affected by rising sea levels and flooding caused by global temperature increases of 3-4 degrees Celsius could result the permanent or temporary displacement of people living in low-lying areas,” said Mr. Dictus. Pacific Island Countries are already susceptible to a range of natural hazards such as cyclones, storm surges, droughts and flooding. Climate change will see extreme events happen both more frequently and more intensely. The Pacific is already experiencing the impact of more extreme events such as tropical cyclones and storm surges. Coupled with projected rates of sea-level rise and flooding, critical infrastructure such as airports, port facilities, roads, vital utilities such as power and water, coastal protection structures and tourism facilities as well as social services such as health and education are being exposed to increased risk.
Some examples include:
• More than 50% of Pacific islanders live within 1.5 km of the shoreline and are particularly exposed to accelerated coastal erosion, saline intrusion, coral reef bleaching and flooding.
• In Fiji, half of the population lives within 60 kilometres of the shore with 90% of villages located on the coast. Sea level rise may threaten village livelihoods, and traditional settlement patterns, as people may have to move away from their customary land, to higher ground.
• Many island people rely on fisheries as a source of food and income from coral reef and mangrove habitats that are threatened by warming ocean temperatures and sea level rise.
• Tropical cyclones amplify the threat from sea-level rise to vital infrastructure in Pacific Island Countries. For example, a 0.5 m rise in sea level, combined with a 1- in-50 year cyclone would cause major damage to port facilities in Fiji and Samoa.
• A high island such as Viti Levu could experience average annual economic losses
from disruption to social services and infrastructure of $US23 to 52 million by
2050, equivalent to 2 to 4% of Fiji’s GDP.
A low group of islands, such as Tarawa atoll, could face average annual damages of $US8 to 16 million by 2050, as compared to a current gross domestic product (GDP) of $US47 million. Climate change has been recognized as one of the largest threats to development, this century. For the Pacific Island Countries, limited land size and resources, isolation and vulnerability to natural disasters exacerbate this threat. In the Pacific, carbon dioxide emission has annually changed from between 1990 to 2004 by 2.3% in Fiji, 0.1% in Papua New Guinea, 1.5% in Samoa, 0.6% in Solomon Islands, 3.7% in Tonga and 2.4% in Vanuatu. On the global scale, Pacific Islands are negligible polluters however they will be the first to suffer from the effects of climate change and need to put in place climate change adaptation strategies. “It is therefore very hard to accept that these will be the same countries that will be so hard hit if the world does not significantly cuts the emission of greenhouse gases,” said Mr. Dictus. “The proof that climate change is happening as we speak is based now on hard scientific evidence. We can observe the changes ourselves and the consequences are inescapable. The world community needs to take action and the UN agencies in the Pacific are committing themselves to provide support and assistance in any way they can,” he concluded. Meanwhile, the Human development Index ranking of Pacific Islands countries that measures the development in countries broadly through progress in health, wealth and knowledge, remains relatively unchanged for 2007. The report ranks the following Pacific Islands Countries as follows: Tonga 55 (unchanged when compared to 2006), Fiji 92, Samoa 77 (both have moved up by two ranks), Solomon Islands 129, Vanuatu (both moved up by one rank) and Papua New Guinea 145, representing an upward movement of six ranks. [Ends]
ABOUT THIS REPORT: The Human Development Report continues to frame debates on some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity. It is an independent report commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Kevin Watkins is the Lead Author of the 2007/2008 report, which includes special contributions from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Luiz Inácio
Lula da Silva of Brazil, Mayor of the City of New York Michael R. Bloomberg, Advocate for Arctic climate change Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Chair of the World Commission on Sustainable Development and former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, and the Director of the Centre for Science and Environment Sunita Narain. The Report
is translated into more than a dozen languages and launched in more than 100 countries annually. Further information can be found at http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2007-2008/. The 2007/2008 Human Development Report is published in English by Palgrave Macmillan.
ABOUT UNDP: UNDP is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners. There are three UNDP offices in the Pacific, based on Fiji, Samoa and Papua New Guinea as well as a regional Centre, the Pacific Centre, UNDP’s regional programme and knowledge centre in Suva, Fiji focused on Small Islands Developing States and serving 15 Pacific Island countries.
For further information contact Alvin Chandra on 3312500 ext 708 or Shobhna Decloitre on 3300399
Media,Communications & Advocacy Associate
UNDP Pacific Centre
2rd Floor, YWCA Building
Ratu Sukuna Park, Suva, Fiji Islands
Tel.: +679 3300399 ext.207
Fax: +679 3301976
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