Pacific island countries and territories now have access to immediate response from global and Pacific experts on climate change with the launch of the new Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) Secretariat Tomai Pacific website.
The Tomai Pacific Network is a collaborative endeavor of SPREP and its development partners and donors with the aim of providing a roster of experts who can provide assistance on various issues related to climate change resilience including mitigation, adaptation and food security.
Over 100 policy and technical experts on climate change are already registered on the Tomai Pacific site, and their expert services are available to all Pacific island countries and territories.
Hon. Toesulusulu Cedric Schuster, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Samoa, spoke about the importance of Pacific Island countries and territories at the official launch held at the Pacific Climate Change Center yesterday.
“Pacific leaders have called collectively to scale up global action to limit global warming to 1.5°C so that we can secure the future of our blue Pacific,” he said.
“The launch of the Tomai platform will facilitate rapid Pacific access to technical and advisory services and, in doing so, create or strengthen national capacity to respond effectively to climate change,” added the Honorable Minister.
Tomai Pacific includes a Rapid Response Fund (RRF) that will finance the rapid deployment of experts or technical assistance to Pacific island countries upon request.
Acting Director General of SPREP, Ms Easter Chu Shing said, “The establishment of Tomai Pacific and the RRF is a step in the right direction towards the ‘transformative change’ needed to effectively deliver expertise to the region to respond to priority needs of Pacific island countries in relation to climate change.
Speaking on the history of the Tomai Pacific platform and where it came from, SPREP’s Climate Change Resilience Manager, Ms Tagaloa Cooper said the platform was a result of demand from Pacific island countries which has sometimes bridged gaps in project funding to Council of Regional Organizations in the Pacific (CROP) Agencies.
“Sometimes requests from Pacific island countries and territories fall outside the scope of the projects we implement. In addition, our agencies sometimes do not have the necessary support and yet members’ requests are because they are prioritized for technical assistance,” she said.
“That’s why we have Tomai Pacific. It’s the result of those needs that are just outside of existing work but are key to building national resilience.”
“Although it is not the answer to everything, it is the answer to bring the experts to the countries and the rapid response fund to send assistance for requests from our countries that fall outside our agreed programs.
“This system is aptly named to signify the wisdom, experience and knowledge of the Pacific region to help find the best solutions and bring the best expertise where it is needed. It is a reflection of the peaceful path that promotes the spirit of cooperation and talanoa to find the best solution,” she concluded.
Ms. Cooper encouraged all Pacific Islanders, as well as non-Pacific Islanders with climate change expertise, to visit the Tomai Pacific website to join the existing network of 150 climate change experts who will provide assistance to our Pacific island countries.
For more information, please contact Ms. Vanda Fa’asoa-Chan Ting, Technical Advisor, Pacific Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Center at [email protected]