Pacific Islands Environment

USAID bolsters the human and institutional capacity of Pacific Island communities, civil society, governments and regional institutions to mitigate the impacts of, and prepare for, natural disasters. USAID's community-level projects serve as models for replication and scale-up by national governments, regional institutions and other donors and stakeholders. U.S. assistance supports reinforcement of community infrastructure, disaster risk reduction and innovative resilience measures undertaken by civil society organizations. At the national and regional levels, USAID strengthens the capacity of governments and regional institutions to develop and implement effective environmental and disaster mitigation policies and strategies. USAID assistance fortifies the capability of governments and regional institutions to gain global funding to boost their disaster mitigation and preparedness, ultimately reducing the cost of future disaster response and recovery. USAID implements projects through partnerships to increase the reach and effectiveness of our assistance. Some of our partners include U.S. Peace Corps, the Pacific Community and other donor countries, such as New Zealand, Australia and Germany. USAID has the lead responsibility for disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands under the Compacts of Free Association. USAID’s disaster assistance in these two countries complements resilience measures that help them better prepare for and mitigate the impacts of natural disasters.


Ready Project
Due to extreme variations in climate, Pacific Island countries are experiencing sea level rise, increasing frequency and intensity of droughts and storms, ocean acidification and consequent damage to coral reefs and fisheries. Many governments within the Pacific region have requested additional support to address these issues. USAID’s Ready project is helping Pacific Island countries to become more environmentally and disaster resilient to protect the lives and livelihoods of their peoples. The project works with government partners and other stakeholders to draft and implement policies to achieve adaptation goals; access larger amounts of financing from international adaptation funds; and improve the skills and systems within each country to better manage and monitor adaptation projects.

Coastal Community Adaptation Project (C-CAP)
People from across the Pacific are among the most vulnerable to extreme weather events and often face formidable challenges to adapt to changing conditions. This capacity is often particularly limited at the community and local levels. C-CAP strengthens resilience in 77 communities across nine Pacific Island countries by improving small-scale community infrastructure and building local capacity for disaster mitigation and preparedness. This ultimately helps communities be more resilient in the face of changing climatic conditions. For example, C-CAP completed community disaster management plans and conducted disaster simulation exercises in 67 communities and built disaster resistant infrastructure in 68 communities. Through such activities, evacuation centers, community buildings and health clinics can now withstand stronger storms, and newly installed rainwater catchment systems strengthen communities' resilience during times of water scarcity.

Disaster Preparedness for Effective Response (PREPARE)
More than 155,000 people living in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are vulnerable to disasters related to severe weather. Under the Compacts of Free Association between the governments of the United States, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, USAID supports disaster management and reconstruction for these countries. USAID helped island communities establish customized disaster management plans. USAID also trained 377 government and nongovernmental partners to improve community resilience. In 2015, Typhoon Maysak destroyed houses, crops and public infrastructure in the Federated States of Micronesia’s Chuuk and Yap States. In response, USAID expedited delivery of emergency and reconstruction assistance. To date, USAID has trained over 1,500 Micronesians to help complete repairs or reconstruction of 422 new houses and 153 public buildings, such as schools, clinics and community centers. USAID also distributed approximately $2.8 million in vouchers to help typhoon survivors rebuild their homes and replace lost materials.

Institutional Strengthening in Pacific Island Countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISACC)
ISACC works with eight Pacific Island countries to scale up national adaptation policies that have been successful in Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. The project links local partners, allowing them to pool their resources, manage their adaptation finances more effectively and develop multi- sector approaches to adapt and reduce their risk to weather-related disasters. ISACC is assessing how Pacific countries manage their climate finances and is piloting a tool for them to better track these funds. The project will share results from the initial implementation of this tool, so that countries can adopt and sustain best practices.

Pacific-American Climate Fund (PACAM)
Civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Pacific often do not have sufficient funding and management capacity to respond to challenges caused by climate change. PACAM awards grants to CSOs in 12 Pacific countries to implement and scale up climate-resilient, community-level adaptation measures. PACAM also awards grants to CSOs in Papua New Guinea to strengthen natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. PACAM grants enable programming that improves livelihoods, food and water security, and governance in the Pacific Islands. PACAM guides CSOs throughout the life of the grant and helps them comply with USAID reporting procedures. In this manner, CSOs “learn by doing” and improve their proficiency in grant management. This positions them to replicate their projects, collaborate with other organizations and engage in public-private partnerships. The project has awarded 28 grants totaling $11 million that support locally driven and innovative initiatives in the forestry, fisheries, agriculture and biodiversity conservation sectors.

Project Assistance Agreement for Environmental Programming
While the wealth of Papua New Guinea's biodiversity is globally recognized, the country's rich and unique resources are among the world's most threatened. Major threats to the country’s biodiversity are rapid deforestation, forest degradation, illegal fishing, pollution from industrial activities and extreme variations in climate. Papua New Guinea is one of USAID’s 11 top priority countries for biodiversity programming. USAID and the Government of Papua New Guinea's Conservation and Environment Protection Authority, Climate Change Development Authority and the Department of National Planning and Monitoring will work together to strengthen environmental policies and institutions; improve natural resource management; conserve biodiversity; and strengthen capacity to adapt to the negative impacts of extreme variations in climate. USAID assistance under the Agreement is expected to support a more environmentally resilient population in Papua New Guinea.

U.S. Peace Corps Small Project Assistance
USAID works with the U.S. Peace Corps to raise environmental awareness among remote communities and increase their resilience to extreme weather events. In Vanuatu and the Federated States of Micronesia, Peace Corps volunteers train with community members on environmental adaptation measures and disaster preparedness. Peace Corps volunteers also train community members to design and manage projects that address these issues. In Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, volunteers work with their communities to build seawalls, improve water and sanitation, construct safe houses for use during extreme weather events and integrate sound environmental practices into project planning.

The Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans)
* Managed by USAID/RDMA
Unsustainable fishing practices threaten biodiversity, food security and livelihoods of more than 200 million people in Southeast Asia. The USAID Oceans Project helps to develop a transparent and financially sustainable system that documents and traces catches to verify if fish are legally caught and properly labeled. The system harnesses the latest science, technology and innovation so that marine resources are caught and accounted for according to national laws. To maximize the system’s effectiveness, USAID Oceans promotes collaboration among regional stakeholders. To date, the project launched a pilot electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) learning site in General Santos City, Philippines and established private industry partnerships, with 26 partners piloting eCDT solutions.

Last updated: April 09, 2020

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