Pacific Community Conference Focuses on Climate Change and Food Security

8 November 2011: The seventh Conference of the Pacific Community convened in Noumea, New Caledonia, under the theme “Climate Change and Food Security – Managing the Risks for Sustainable Development,” from 7-8 November 2011. The Conference emphasized the importance of a paradigm shift in addressing climate change, not necessarily “doing different business, but rather doing business differently” to determine the level of acceptable risk and to prepare responses.

The conference brought together Heads of government, ministers and ambassadors from 22 Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), Australia, France, New Zealand and the US, who discussed the impacts of climate change on food and water security in the region. According to SPC, key challenges for PICTs include improving the understanding and quantification of climate-related risks to food security, identifying viable adaptation options and prepare to respond to risks.

Delegates welcomed the initiative by the heads of the organizations of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) to establish a CROP Executives Climate Change Subcommittee. The Committee, which is jointly chaired by the Secretary General of PIFS and the Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), aims to streamline and coordinate activities undertaken by the various agencies to support island countries. The Conference further stressed the importance of partnerships between development organizations, including the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and supported the “many partners, one team” approach. The Conference of the Pacific Community, which meets every two years, is SPC's governing body. [SPC Press Release, 6 November] [SPC Press Release, 7 November] [SPC Press Release, 8 November]