Empowering Pacific Resilience: UNOSAT’s Technological and Capacity Building Initiatives 

Geneva, Switzerland – In the vast expanse of the Pacific, where the azure waters meet lush islands, the threat of climate change is not distant, but a reality deeply anchored in the present. Rising sea levels, frequent flooding, and coastal erosion pose relentless threats to their rich ecosystems and communities. Despite contributing minimally to global carbon emissions, these island nations face staggering costs to bolster their infrastructure against climate-induced hazards. Estimates suggest that Pacific island countries need to invest between 6% and 9% of their annual GDP-which is approximately $1 billion annually for the region-to fortify their defences against climate change. In response to these urgent needs, UNOSAT has stepped up, leveraging its technological prowess and capacity-building initiatives to enhance resilience and safeguard livelihoods.

Harnessing Technology for Agricultural Resilience in Fiji

Fiji, known for its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes, is grappling with severe climatic challenges. The encroaching sea levels, saltwater intrusion, and coastal erosion threaten the nation’s agricultural backbone. To combat these issues, UNOSAT has developed the iTei Qele App, a groundbreaking tool designed to empower farmers and agricultural stakeholders with critical information. This application, accessible via UNOSAT’s platform, displays crop suitability data across Fiji’s mainlands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

Through the iTei Qele App, farmers can visualize optimal locations for specific crops, enabling them to make informed decisions that enhance productivity and community resilience. This initiative strengthens food security with cross-benefits across Fiji’s economy. It is a testament to how innovative technology can address pressing climate challenges and improve livelihoods.

Enhancing Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity in Vanuatu

Vanuatu, another jewel of the Pacific, faces multipolar natural threats, including cyclones and floods. In a region where disaster can strike with little warning, preparedness is paramount. UNOSAT’s training programmes have been instrumental in equipping Vanuatu’s Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC), with essential GIS techniques. These skills have transformed the operational capabilities of all the above stakeholders, enabling them to develop detailed risk maps.

These risk maps are critical during cyclone threats, guiding the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) in activating timely and effective responses. By mapping the cyclone’s path and potential impact areas, GIS experts facilitate rapid assessments and targeted interventions, protecting vulnerable regions and minimizing damage. The story of Micky Welin, as highlighted by UNITAR, underscores the transformative impact of UNOSAT’s capacity-building efforts in climate risk reduction.

Securing Climate Finance for Future Projects

Securing funding for climate Finance projects is a daunting task for Pacific leaders, often hindered by limited resources and complex application processes. Recognizing this challenge, UNOSAT together partnered with the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH) and the Pacific Community (SPC) to conduct a Regional climate finance workshop in Suva, Fiji. This workshop, like the other Writeshop trainings, equipped leaders with the skills necessary to navigate funding bodies and write compelling project proposals.

The success of this initiative is evident in the Fijian government’s recent achievement of securing a $5.7 million project from the Adaptation Fund. This funding will be used to build 14 nature-based seawalls, protecting over 2,400 people in 14 villages. Such projects are critical in mitigating the impacts of climate change and building resilient communities. On the 5 June at 9 AM, Geneva time, UNOSAT will organize a webinar to delve deeper into climate finance and its numerous benefits.

A Collective Effort Towards a Resilient Future

UNOSAT’s multifaceted approach-encompassing technology, capacity-building programmes, and finance-demonstrates the power of collaborative efforts in addressing the complex challenges posed by climate change. From empowering farmers in Fiji to enhancing disaster risk reduction in Vanuatu, UNOSAT’s initiatives underscore the critical role of innovative solutions and capacity building.

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