Secretariat of the Pacific Community – Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States

At a glance

2011-07-01 to 2016-11-01
Completed programmes
Cook Islands
Micronesia, Federated States Of
Marshall Islands
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
Total budget
11,40 M€
GCCA priority area(s)

Pacific islands are among the countries most vulnerable to climate change globally, with considerable differences in the level of vulnerability between and within countries. Coastal communities, atoll islands, and the densely populated and low-lying deltaic regions on larger islands are particularly vulnerable to even small changes in climatic variables, especially sea level rise and climate variability, including drought conditions and tropical storms. Vulnerability is constituted by high population densities and growth rates, scarce natural resources particular land and water, high exposure to natural hazards because of small and low-lying land mass and geographical location in cyclone and typhoon zones, poorly developed infrastructure, limited human and economic resources because of poverty and small size of countries, high external dependency of economies.

The high pressure on land and marine based natural resources already leads to unsustainable use of these resources, reduces the natural resistance of ecosystems, weakens the functions of ecosystems as natural shields against natural disasters and threatens livelihoods of communities depending on them. Adaptive capacities in terms of human resources to analyse risks, identify adaptation options and steer implementation as well as institutional arrangements to effectively plan and coordinate implementation are very limited in these small countries. The information base on climate change adaptation and vulnerabilities is insufficient and, where it exists, awareness of and skills to use information is lacking in relevant departments.


Awareness about the risks climate change is posing to development is very high in the region as reflected in regional and national climate policies and statements and requests for support on climate change related problems by communities. At national level however, all-encompassing strategic and operational frameworks to guide and implement adaptation priorities are largely absent. National development strategies and budgets are not yet Climate Change resilient. The likely effects of climate change in the different economic sectors have not been quantified, let alone included as separate items in national budgets. Community approaches are common in the region, but have only reached a small number of communities to date.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
11,400,000.00 €

Overall objective

Support the governments of the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga, Tuvalu and regional bodies' efforts in tackling the adverse effects of climate change, in line with the Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change (PIFACC).

Specific objective

The purpose of the project is to contribute towards a more coherent, coordinated, efficient and mainstreamed way of delivering climate change adaptation support at national and regional level.


Expected results are divided into national and regional results.

National level results are as follows:

  • Climate change mainstreamed into national and/or sector response strategies.
  • Countries better equipped to access climate change funds through different financing modalities.
  • National climate change adaptation projects implemented, tailored to countries' needs in selected relevant sectors as emerging from national priorities embedded in existing adaptation plans and adaptation programmatic documents (such as NAPAs or others).

Regional results are as follows:

  • Streamlined technical assistance that supports national adaptation responses delivered by regional organizations in a collaborative manner


National Level Activities include:

  • Shaping "adaptation roadmaps" providing for the integration of climate change adaptation in the form of climate change resilient strategies in the governments' development policies and budgets. The existence of sound development plans and strategies is the first eligibility criteria to EU Budget support operations.
  • Implementation of selected activities foreseen in the roadmaps and of other adaptation strategic priorities identified by the countries
  • Review of existing plans and on-going actions undertaken under these plans.
  • Preparation of a report by country with concrete suggestions on pilot projects. In-country consultation sessions to ensure endorsement by the countries of the selected projects and decision on the implementation process.
  • Implementation of pilot projects with a participatory and inclusive community-based approach and including awareness raising campaigns and training aiming at progressively eradicating unsustainable activities and practices

Regional activities include:

  • Punctual service contracts to assist SPREP and SPC with a number of tasks/projects
  • SPREP has the responsibility for reviewing the Pacific Island Framework for Action in Climate Change (PIFACC) and for re-organising the Climate Change Roundtable. It is also co-responsible (with PIFS and SPC) for promoting the case for a regional mechanism in the area of Climate Change (feasibility study under way). SPREP's role in the region is therefore crucial but its capacity needs to be reinforced. It is therefore envisaged that a long-term TA (two years contract) be recruited and located in SPREP in order to support the coordination efforts in the field of CC, including the re-organisation of the CC roundtable and the shaping of a new regional mechanism in CC

Organisation and participation to workshops/conferences/seminars aiming at coordinating activities in CC in the Pacific and at setting a new regional mechanism to help countries access international funding.

Achievements to date

Key Result Area 1: Climate change mainstreamed into national and/or sector response strategies.

  • Climate change profiles (version 2) prepared and published on the web for the nine countries highlighting climate change, governance and financial background, assessing all ongoing climate change activities and identifying national priorities and available on the web.
  • National climate change mainstreaming activities:
  • Palau: national climate change policy framework.
  • Nauru: Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Nauru (RONAdapt).
  • Kiribati: Kiribati Joint Implementation Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management.
  • FSM: Nationwide Integrated Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Policy, and FSM Climate Change Policy Act, were endorsed by Congress in 2013.
  • Niue: The preparation of an institutional framework for a new Climate Change division in Niue.
  • Climate change communications plan:
  • SPC: Prepared for SPC (October 2012);
  • GCCA: PSIS project communications plan prepared 2013
  • Kiribati: Climate change and climate risk communications plan prepared for Kiribati.
  • Training in climate change communications: Climate change communication training workshops held in FSM, Kiribati and Tuvalu focusing on different media; one regional documentary and four national climate change documentaries prepared and launched at a side event at the Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable. The five videos are as follows:
  • Adapting to climate change in the smaller Pacific islands: looking forward
  • Adapting to climate change in the Cook Islands: the human health dimension
  • Adapting to climate change in Kiribati: the social dimension
  • Adapting to climate change in Tuvalu: the freshwater dimension
  • Adapting to climate change in FSM: the Food and water security dimension

KRA 2: Countries better equipped to access climate change funds through different financing modalities.

  • Climate change coordination enhanced through provision of fulltime project coordinators in each country.
  • Eligibility for budget support: Review undertaken of the extent to which climate change is mainstreamed into national and sector policies in each of the 9 countries with a view to informing their access to climate change funds delivered through budget support modalities in particular (2013).
  • Climate change mainstreaming profiles published for each country showing the extent to which countries address criterion 1 of the budget support criteria.
  • Regional meeting on climate change finance held in Tonga in September 2013 also involving Caribbean Indian Ocean and Pacific partners in GCCA bilateral and regional projects and development partners.
  • Training in proposal preparation: Following a regional training workshop in proposal preparation using the logical framework approach (October 2012) 12 national training workshops were held involving 291 participants in 2013-14. Impact evaluation 6 months after the training showed 46 of the participants had submitted proposals using the LFA. Thirty one were successfully funded and twenty two are still awaiting confirmation. The total value of all proposals was USD$89,052,000 (appx EUR 66 million). (Whilst this dollar amount is very high, one project for USD$75 million (appx EUR55 million) is attributed to one proposal from Pohnpei for pre-fabricated housing from China). The evaluation also showed the training had built capacity of staff not only in proposal preparation but also in the performance of their role in government, or other sectors.
  • Regional training in the Adaptation Fund.
  • Cook Islands: Technical assistance provided to help Cook Islands gain accreditation as a national implementing entity to the Adaptation Fund.
  • Marshall Islands: Together with development partners a national assessment of climate change finance was conducted in 2014.
  • Tonga: Technical assistance provided to develop the Tonga Climate Change Fund.

KRA 3: National climate change adaptation projects implemented

  • National consultations: Extensive country consultations held in each country between March 2012 and February 2013, with government, NGO and community stakeholders to determine the sector where project activities will focus.
  • Identifying focus sectors: All nine countries identified focus sectors for their climate change adaptation project; these include agriculture (Tuvalu) freshwater (FSM, Nauru, Niue, Palau), health (Kiribati), coastal zone management and marine resources (Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Tonga).
  • Designing climate change adaptation projects: Participatory workshops to design the on-the-ground climate change adaptation projects (using the logical framework approach) have been held in 9 countries and involved all key stakeholders.
  • Technical assistance for detailed engineering design provided in Marshall Islands, Nauru and Tonga
  • Detailed design: Climate change adaptation project design documents prepared for all nine countries and endorsed in 8 countries (not yet in Nauru).
  • Implementation of climate change adaptation projects: Project implementation well underway in seven countries, and three countries (Cook Islands, Niue and Kiribati) are in the second and final phase of implementation.
  • Lessons learnt are being compiled and shared at regional meetings; countries have prepared national videos on lessons learnt (currently being compiled);

KRA 4: Streamlined technical assistance that supports national adaptation responses delivered by regional organizations in a collaborative manner

  • Exchanging information and knowledge regionally
  • Strengthening regional coordination
  • Roadmap to integrate Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation

Challenges and lessons learned
  • Fostering project ownership by countries: Most climate change projects in the region are based on pre-selection of the sector or area of focus. This project provides countries with the opportunity to prioritize their needs and select the particular area of focus for the on-the-ground adaptation project and the related mainstreaming activities. In some countries, new procedures have had to be developed which combine community, technical and political involvement.
  • Combining 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' approaches to climate change adaptation: Experience shows that a system embracing both 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' approaches to the adaptation process has the best chance of improving the adaptive capacity of Pacific inhabitants. Through this project, practical experience can be acquired and shared through climate change mainstreaming combined with the implementation of on-the-ground adaptation projects, based on a participatory, community-based and culturally sensitive approach.
  • Delivering effective training efficiently: Regional training workshops following by in-country delivery through national training workshops is a model that works well providing tailored training to a large number of participants; impact evaluation after the training is another useful tool.
  • Using the logical framework approach (LFA) to design on-the-ground adaptation projects: The LFA approach has been used in multi-stakeholder workshops involving government and community members and is proving to be a very effective tool to plan and structure the activities.
  • Sharing experience and good practices across the region through the use of video has the potential to be a very powerful communication tool.
  • Collaboration with other development partners in the joint delivery of activities is beneficial and an efficient use of funding. Regional collaboration also requires trust building over time, patience and perseverance. Over the course of the GCCA: PSIS project there have been significant advances in regional collaboration between SPC, SPREP, PIFS, USP, GIZ and UNDP in particular. This is based on recognition of a particular organisation's skills and experience and the identification and implementation of specific joint activities where appropriate.
  • Paving the way for climate-related budget support and enhanced access to climate finance:Helping the countries assess their readiness for climate change funding via general and sector budget support will develop national capacity and enhance communication between finance and climate change stakeholders at the national level. With collaboration from other development partners this will in the long term enhance the capacity of Pacific countries to obtain and effectively absorb climate-related funding.
  • Enhancing skills in using local media to portray accurate and effective climate change messaging: Provision of training to media personnel in the preparation and sharing of climate change stories will provide sustainable benefit beyond the life of the project.
  • Embedding project officers in different regional organisations is one effective way to achieve regional collaboration. In the case of the GCCA: PSIS project, one project team member was recruited and managed by SPREP, thereby providing for collaboration and integration at the technical and implementation level. Similarly having one team member based in the North Pacific has been effective and efficient in addressing sub-regional issues.