East-West Center to Oversee $4 Million in NOAA Funding to Help Pacific Communities Cope with Climate Change


HONOLULU (May 5, 2015) -- The East-West Center has been awarded funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue to serve as the lead institution in the Pacific Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) program, which is designed to help island and coastal communities cope with the effects of climate change. This is the second full program award the Center has received from NOAA, and marks the program’s transition into a new phase.

The $4,099,785 NOAA grant will be shared over a five-year period by a variety of partners in the Pacific RISA program (see list below). The program was established in 2003 and is one of 11 regional RISA programs supported by NOAA across the U.S. The region covered by the Pacific program includes Hawai‘i, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau and American Samoa.

"Adaptation to a changing climate is one of the greatest challenges that island communities are facing in Hawai‘i, the Pacific and across the globe," said EWC Director of Research Nancy Lewis. "NOAA’s continuing support of the Pacific RISA builds on a firm foundation established over a decade ago, and will enable the East-West Center to continue to bring together scientists, communities and decision-makers to develop innovative adaptation strategies."

The Pacific RISA program is a collaboration among the East-West Center, University of Hawai‘i International Pacific Research Institute, University of Hawai‘i Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawai‘i School of Law, University of Hawai‘i Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawai‘i Department of Geography, National Weather Service Pacific ENSO Applications Center, NOAA National Center for Environmental Information, Pacific Islands Climate Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative and various community groups and government agencies throughout the region.

Phase III of the program will continue to support the effective utilization of climate science to manage the impacts of the changing climate across diverse sectors in the Pacific Islands region. It will build on products and projects developed during previous phases to achieve four main objectives:

  • Conduct place-based assessment of risk, vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies;
  • Support implementation of these strategies;
  • Evaluate adaptation plans and policy throughout the region; and
  • Integrate technical climate information and policy outcomes.

For more information on the Pacific RISA program, please visit www.PacificRISA.org or contact [email protected]