Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016GU301B

Building the Resilience of Communities and their Ecosystems to the Impacts of Climate Change through an Integrated Natural Resource Management, Education, and Outreach campaign in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Institute: Guam
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $20,681 Total Non-Federal Funds: Not available

Principal Investigators: Francisca Obispo, Joseph Eugene

Abstract: The small island developing state of Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), located in the north Pacific region, is directly facing challenges associated with climate variability and change. Notable climate change impacts are: extreme temperatures, sea level rise, ocean acidification, drought, and heavy rainfall leading to flooding and landslides. Such impacts are threatening marine and terrestrial environments, which include water resources and livelihoods that depend on them. Rising sea level rise, storm surges, coastal inundation and salinization of water lenses. Pohnpei has also experienced the cyclical effects of the EL Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-related weather anomalies. Such climate variability is associated with drought, which often leads to: water shortages, crop failures, food shortages and fires. Climate stressors affect eco-systems, livelihoods, health, and food security in Pohnpei. For example when there is drought or during El Nino the crops or agriculture products are not able to produce enough food, there is water shortage, ocean acidification which can lead to death of corals which leads to less fish when there is drought or during El Nino. CSP hopes to further these goals via community outreach under the Building the Resilience of Communities and their Ecosystem to the impacts of Climate Change through and Integrated Natural Resources Management, Education, and Outreach on campaign in Pohnpei. Despite the risks associated with climate change, there is a general lack of community awareness and preparedness for climate change and the natural hazards associated with it. This was confirmed in an International Organization for Migration (IOM) survey conducted in mid-2012, which revealed a general lack of public awareness. The results indicated that approximately half of the population had experienced a natural disaster in their lifetime; and that almost 50% of respondents had been forced to move during their lifetime as a result of a natural disaster. In the context of such results, CSP has tested a climate change toolkit created by the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) that would help communities develop Local Early Action plans detailing short and long term climate adaptation or disaster mitigation interventions to pursue. Community awareness of environmental and social vulnerabilities is the basis of the successful implementation of a disaster risk management and climate change adaptation process that draws and builds on the knowledge and capacity of the local community. A participatory process establishes ownership of climate adaptation projects and improves the likelihood of sustainability over a long period of time, as this process requires buy-in from local governments, civil society actors, and community leaders. CSP is well positioned to lead sustainable resilience raising efforts in schools and communities in Pohnpei. This project aims to build the resilience of vulnerable communities in Pohnpei to climate change and natural hazards. Utilizing an ad-hoc group called Pohnpei Climate Change Outreach Committee (PCCOC), which is comprised of local partners and key community champions led by CSP, this committees existing presence in Pohnpei and expertise in climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness is essential to ongoing efforts. CSP and partners will target at least two but not limited specific communities and school age children across Pohnpei under the proposed project.