Samoa, Japan and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) have sealed a partnership and commitment to building the Pacific Climate Change Centre (P.C.C.C) at Vailima.
It was first announced in the Seventh Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) Declaration in 2015 where the government of Japan shared its commitment to the Pacific to provide comprehensive assistance through S.P.R.E.P, for the development of the Pacific Climate Change Centre and capacity-building.
This supports the efforts for tackling climate change by the Pacific region as a whole.
Senior Officials from the Japanese government, including the Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Masakazu Hamachi, have signed the ‘Exchange of Notes’ with Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, effectively ending the preparatory stage and launching the building stage of the P.C.C.C.
“I would like to thank the Government of Japan for partnering with Samoa in the development and funding of the Pacific Climate Change Centre,” said Tuilaepa. “The centre will provide immense benefits for us as we face the many challenges associated with climate change.
“Climate change is the single most pressing issue that we as a region have to face, so Japan’s Support in funding the P.C.C.C will go a long way in helping us all address the impacts of climate change in Samoa and in other Pacific nations.”
The Pacific Climate Change Centre will be a regional hub of excellence for the coordination of climate change initiatives in the Pacific region.
It will bring together S.P.R.E.P members and partners including peer agencies from the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific with researchers, scientists and scholars. The P.C.C.C will be the hub for the sharing of information and coordination of actions to help Pacific island countries and territories address the vast challenges of climate change they now face.
“Japan has been supporting measures taken by Samoa and S.P.R.E.P for sustainable development,” said Mr. Masakazu Hamachi.
“This project is to construct the Pacific Climate Change Centre at S.P.R.E.P by Japan’s Grant Aid with a view to strengthening measures against climate change in Pacific island countries. Japan continues to strongly support the sustainable development of Pacific Island States including Samoa through official development assistance and other measures.”
The P.C.C.C will enhance opportunities for Pacific island members to access climate finance, better coordinate adaptation and mitigation measures and build capacity in climate change science and meteorology, through a dedicated training space and education and outreach programmes.
After the signing, the Japanese delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed to Vailima to pay a courtesy call to the Director General of S.P.R.E.P, Leota Kosi Latu, touring the campus and visiting the site of the P.C.C.C.
”The Pacific Climate Change Centre will belong to us all across the Pacific island region,” Leota said. “It will be our Pacific island centre for collaboration and a conduit for all climate change work as we fulfil our mandate given by our Pacific leaders as the coordinating agency of climate change work in the Pacific.
“Amongst other things, S.P.R.E.P will bring our role as an Implementing Agency for the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund to access climate financing, our role as the host of the Pacific Met Desk Partnership as well as our solid foundation of networks and relationships across the many oceans, to ensure the P.C.C.C. is successful in helping our Pacific island communities.”
Tendering for materials and development of the site will begin early next year, with construction of the P.C.C.C due to begin in June, 2017. The P.C.C.C will be constructed in line with environmentally friendly designs including rainwater harvesting, anaerobic digesters and water saving bathrooms, and is expected to be completed in July, 2018.