PACC Project Completes Climate-Reslient Harbor in Cook Islands

PACC22 August 2014: The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has reported that, as part of the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project (PACC), the Cook Islands have completed a climate-resilient harbor for the island of Mangaia. In addition, the tool developed to design the harbor can be used to design other coastal infrastructure in the Cook Islands.

According to SPREP, the island of Mangaia was often passed up by ships carrying everything from food to fuel during rough weather since its former harbor was destroyed by cyclones. Often ships only came every two or three months. The resiliency of the new harbor will only be truly tested during the next big storm, but the development and use of the 'Cook Islands Coastal Calculator' allowed the harbor to be designed to withstand extreme events through the use of various weather and climatic scenarios.

The harbor is expected to increase safety, encourage recreational activity, allow more frequent cargo deliveries and spur economic activity. In order to achieve its climate-smart design, the Coastal Calculator had to take into account, inter alia, distance of beach to the reef, the slope of the reef, the main features on the beach, the intensity and frequency of storms, the contour of the reefs, as well as the results of a bathymetry study. Engineers involved in the project expect that it will not need to be revisited for upgrading for 50 years.

The PACC Project in the Cook Islands is being featured at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), scheduled to take place in September 2014, in Apia, Samoa. PACC, which includes 14 Pacific island States, is implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and SPREP. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of Australia are funding the project. [SPREP Press Release] [PACC Website]