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Visions of the future: building climate resilience amongst Pacific region fishers and farmers

September 3, 2015

An innovative workshop has been held, aimed at building resilience and strengthening adaptation to climate change among farmers and fishers in the Pacific region. The workshop, which took place in Suva, Fiji on 25–27 August 2015, was one of the outcomes of a partnership between CTA and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The partnership was launched to develop research on climate-smart agriculture in the area. The workshop, which was co-organised with the WorldFish was held under the auspices of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). CTA was represented at the meeting by Dr Olu Ajayi, Senior Programme Coordinator on agricultural and rural development policies and climate change.

Specialists in agriculture, fisheries, food security, trade and public health came from all over the Pacific region and elsewhere to work together. They set out to answer the complex questions of how climate change will affect agriculture and fisheries in the South Pacific region, what the scenarios will be in terms of food security, nutrition and public health in 2030 and, identify actions in response to the expected scenarios.  

During an intensive three-day programme, participants used the technique of scenario development to identify the different pathways that climate change might take in future and to consider how it could interact with other trends in the region.  

Stories of a food system under threat

The South Pacific’s food system is undergoing profound changes that will be felt for generations to come. Population growth, urbanisation, a scarcity of arable land and increasing imports of poor-quality food are combining to damage the nutrition of many thousands of people. In turn, poor nutrition is driving an increase in non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, threatening the region’s development. Unless action is taken, climate change will intensify these trends. The scenarios developed during the workshop contain compelling stories on how climate change could affect food production, trade and consumption. They are valuable resources for policy-makers grappling with the changes.  

During the workshop, participants identified key drivers and four plausible future scenarios for the Pacific food system. As well as climate change itself, they considered a range of relevant trends, for instance in food security and nutrition, socio-economic development, environmental change and government policy. Four  experts in participatory scenario development, guided participants through exercises to create the four scenarios. On the last day of the workshop, senior policy-makers took part. They discussed the implications of the scenarios, identified the groups of actors most closely involved and considered political responses, such as building support for climate adaptation measures.  

Fish inline

Workshop outputs will contribute to high-level deliberations

The scenarios produced during the workshop are valuable information and their influence will go far beyond the workshop itself. Cutting-edge infographics were used to bring them to life. The information and infographics generated through the scenarios will provide valuable information to inform policy makers in the region during a number of possible policy engagement options identified, including the Pacific Islands Forum for Fisheries Agency (FFA), Pacific Island Forum (PIF) leaders’ meeting on 7–9 September in Papua New Guinea, the implementation of the Pacific Plan, the regional pre-CoP negotiation meeting and other policy sessions organized in the run-up to CoP21. The communications group of CCAFS and CTA are working together to ensure that these information are effectively communicated to the policy makers before, during and after CoP21.

There is a pressing need to improve understanding of the likely effects of climate change in key areas such as agriculture, fisheries and nutrition, in order to guide policies and interventions. You can help in these efforts by sharing the infographics and related resources, and by adding your voice to the debates. Use the links below to access resources and to follow developments as they unfold.  

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