University of South Pacific USP and University of Canterbury Partner for Pacific Research

 The University of Canterbury in New Zealand  and the University of the South Pacific  in Fiji are partnering in a unique research project that will explore the impacts of climate change in the Pacific, and the role indigenous ecological knowledge can help communities to adapt.

A statement from the USP stated that the project would address a lack of research into community resilience and response mechanisms, and how indigenous knowledge could work with western scientific approaches to inform a range of responses – from government policies to community plans.

USP Logo (graphics by USP) 

It stated the research would support Pacific academics and take a Pasifika approach to research, including talanoa and culturally relevant methodologies, and it would also capture indigenous approaches and local responses to changes in climate being experienced.

In the statement, University of Canterbury team leader Professor Steven Ratuva says the “trans-disciplinary innovation is needed to explore the multi-layered impacts of the climate crisis on the environment and people in the Pacific and beyond”.

“The project is a unique opportunity to weave science, social science, humanities and indigenous ecological knowledge in creative and transformative ways,” Prof Ratuva said.

USP Professor of Ocean and Climate Change and Director Pacific Center of Environment Elisabeth Holland said the project responded to increasingly urgent calls from Pacific leaders and peoples to address the climate crisis.

“It is truly a first of its kind synthesis of research on both climate change and the ocean in the Pacific. This ‘by the Pacific for the Pacific’ project provides the opportunity to amplify community voices in the ongoing national and international discussions,” Prof Holland said.

According to the statement, the research will contribute to the global understanding of climate change in the Pacific region, contributing to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Global Stocktake in 2023.

It will also provide valuable information to Pacific governments and civil society groups and Pasifika peoples, and it will highlight Pacific solutions to Pacific experiences, sharing these experiences across the region and the world.

The project is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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