East-West Center Receives NOAA Funding to Support International Adaptation to Climate Change in the Pacific

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HONOLULU (Sept. 2, 2020) -- The East-West Center has been awarded funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Department of State to serve as the lead institution in the Pacific Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) program. Pacific RISA is designed to build resilience and adaptation in Pacific Island communities to the effects of climate change. This award extends the program into its 17th year at the Center and marks a transition toward more international collaborations and initiatives.

Sign warning Pacific Island residents of El Nino-related droughtThe total award of $1,287,821 includes $758,333 in NOAA funds and $529,488 from the Department of State. A variety of partners in the Pacific RISA program will share the funds over a one-year period (see list below). The program is one of 11 regional RISA programs that NOAA supports across the US. Pacific RISA is a trusted source of climate information in the Pacific, including Hawaiʻi and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands (the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and American Sāmoa).

“Pacific Island leaders and communities recognize that climate change is their number one threat, and that they must continue their efforts to adapt to its intensifying impacts,” said East-West Center Vice President Karena Lyons, who directs the Center’s Research and Pacific Islands Development programs. “This new support from both NOAA and the State Department will enable the East-West Center to continue more than a decade of research bringing together scientists, communities, and decision-makers to develop innovative adaptation strategies.”

Multi-agency partnership to continue collaboration across diverse sectors
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, NOAA National Center for Environmental Information, Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, and various community groups and government agencies throughout the region.

Program funding will continue to support the effective utilization of climate science across diverse sectors in the Pacific Islands region, while initiating new partnerships and collaborations to build international resilience to climate change. It will advance products and projects developed during previous years to achieve four main objectives:

  • Integrating technical climate information and policy outcomes;
  • Peer-to-peer resilience planning;
  • International capacity building and regional assessments; and
  • Program evaluation and tracking of climate adaptation indicators and goals.

For more information on the Pacific RISA program, please visit www.PacificRISA.org or contact KeenerV@EastWestCenter.org or BrewingL@EastWestCenter.org.