National Climate Assessment workshop in American Sāmoa informs new climate science summary for the jurisdiction

National Climate Assessment workshop in American Sāmoa informs new climate science summary for the jurisdiction

Pacific RISA is leveraging the NCA4 regional chapter and Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment with workshops and new products that respond to informational requests from the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands and aim to build a more robust and inclusive regional network. Building on the momentum from the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4)’s “Hawaiʻi and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands” chapter, Pacific RISA is learning from constituents how to best tailor new informational products to local needs.

On June 10th, 2019, Pacific RISA Principal Investigator Victoria Keener and former Pacific RISA graduate student Chris Shuler led the first Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) workshop in Pago Pago, America Sāmoa. A group of approximately 25 decision makers from across government and natural resource management sectors gathered to engage with the Pacific RISA team members and learn about the findings of the Fourth National Climate Assessment.  Participants “ground-truthed” a territory-level climate science summary for American Sāmoa and contributed sectoral knowledge toward this assessment product, which will be released later this year. Key knowledge shared included, for example, impacts on specific cultural sites and challenges faced in managing risks to coastal infrastructure under the current land-use regulatory system.

The PIRCA workshop in American Samoa was the first of a series of cross-sectoral workshops on climate change being planned with decision-makers and sectoral specialists in the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. The workshops are designed to inform a new series of climate science summaries, developed as part of the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment.

The next PIRCA workshop will take place on July 23rd and is being hosted by the Republic of Palau’s Office of Climate Change in partnership with Pacific RISA and the East-West Center, and will be held at the Palau National Marine Sanctuary on July 23rd. Pacific RISA’s Sustained Climate Assessment Specialist, Zena Grecni, and Program Manager, Wendy Miles, will learn from representatives from a range of sectors to gather their input on how climate variability and change is affecting local sectors such as tourism, ecosystems, fisheries, health, agriculture, disaster management, infrastructure planning, cultural resources, and the economy in Palau. 

More than 100 regional scientific experts and practitioners contributed to the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment full report, which became the most comprehensive assessment of climate knowledge and adaptation for the for the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands region to-date. The new, up-to-date local climate summaries are being developed in response to requests for products specific to each island jurisdiction. Preparations are also being made for PIRCA workshops in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands for later this year.

For more information, contact Zena Grecni, Sustained Climate Assessment Specialist, grecniz@eastwestcenter.org  Victoria Keener, Principal Investigator, keenerv@eastwestcenter.org, or Wendy Miles, Program Manager, milesw@eastwestcenter.org.

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