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Virtual climate conference set for end of October

The 3rd Pacific Ocean Climate Change Conference from 27-30 October will be held virtually for climate change experts and various stakeholders.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.), Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, and the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) are working with the Samoan government to convene the virtual conference.

After two successful conferences in 2016 and 2018 hosted by the Victoria University in Wellington, the third conference was initially scheduled to take place at the NUS in May this year but due to the COVID-19 global pandemic had to be moved online with a ticket price of NZD$25.

The Assistant Vice-Chancellor [Pasifika], Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, from Wellington’s Victoria University said this year’s theme is “Blue Pacific, Climate Action for Climate Resilience.”

“We are looking forward to exploring the science, the impacts, the solutions, and the enablers of climate resilience at this important conference,” she said.

Keynote speaker Professor James Renwick, Head of School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Wellington’s Victoria University stated, “We have seen over the past two years a heightened awareness among young people in particular of climate change, and we are inspired by innovative ways to improve resilience from a range of voices, which we will hear from at this year’s inclusive online conference.”

Among the drawcard speakers for the three-day event is Tuifuisa’a Dr Patila Amosa, the Dean of Science at the N.U.S, who will give a keynote address on the invisible climate change threat posed by ocean acidification.

Dr Amosa’s research focuses on the chemical and microbiological health of water resources in Samoa, as well as marine biogeochemistry. 

She leads ocean acidification research at the N.U.S. and is a leading proponent of getting more Pasifika females into science research.

Another keynote speaker in S.P.R.E.P. Director General, Leota Kosi Latu, said the range of Pacific stories to be shared at this conference should empower people to do more for both ocean and climate action.

“Our ocean is our greatest resource, and climate change is our greatest threat to our Pacific region, this conference is providing  space for us as the Blue Pacific to continue amplifying our Pacific realities in this time of COVID-19,” he added.

Other speakers on the sub-themes of science, people and oceans include New Zealand’s Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Executive Director and Assistant Director-General of U.N.E.S.C.O, Dr Vladimir Ryabinin, and Marshallese poet and speaker Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner.

The conference includes over 100 presenters and the price of registering has been kept as low as possible to ensure broad access to the event.

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