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SPREP Releases Pacific Environment and Climate Change Outlook for 2012

SPREP30 November 2012: A new report by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) demonstrates increasing environmental and economic pressures on Pacific islands due to climate change, which it projects to possibly cost low-lying islands as much as 18% of their GDP.

The Pacific Environment and Climate Change Outlook (PECCO) 2012 report, the fourth in a series of state of the environment reports issued by SPREP, was prepared in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and other organizations and released at the 18th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being held in Doha, Qatar.

PECCO 2012 covers 21 Pacific island countries and territories (PICTs). It devotes a chapter to PICTs' vulnerability to climate change and variability, including the threat posed by rainfall variability and sea level rise to PICT freshwater supplies. The report also outlines a number of worrisome trends in the region, including loss of mangroves, numerous invasive or potentially invasive species, growing chemical wastes from mining, unsustainable fishing practices, and coral reef degradation. The report also highlights PICT efforts to address the environmental problems it faces, including the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs), increased forest cover, and the promotion of sustainable water use.

In addition to stepped up efforts to promote climate change adaptation and to build resilience among PICTs, the report also recommends addressing the other drivers of environmental degradation, such as population growth, mining, and the shift from subsistence farming toward cash crops such as palm oil.

SPREP was assisted in preparing the report by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with financial and technical support from UNEP and the European Union (EU)-funded ACP (Africa, Pacific, Caribbean) Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) project.

The 21 countries and territories covered by PECCO 2012 are American Samoa, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna. [UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Pacific Environment and Climate Change Outlook]