Pacific climate change study gains $4.5m

The Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies (MBC) at the University of Canterbury (UC) has been awarded $4.5 million by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) for a major climate change project in the Pacific in partnership with the University of the South Pacific (USP).

Professor Ratuva is an interdisciplinary scholar and Director of UC’s MacMillan Brown Centre of Pacific Studies. Photo University of Canterbury

MBC Director and interdisciplinary scholar Professor Steven Ratuva will co-lead the project with USP Climate Change Professor Elisabeth Holland. The project will involve a robust evidence-based assessment of climate change impact and social resilience in the Pacific and will include Covid-19 as a factor in influencing climate change resilience.

The project partnership started last year during a visit to USP by a UC team led by Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey, leading to an agreement between the two universities.

The project will be a massive interdisciplinary undertaking involving teams of climate change scientists, social scientists, indigenous scholars, regional organisations, international agencies, governments, civil society organisations and community networks. It will conclude in time for the 2023 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) global climate change stocktake.   

“The high profile and high policy impact project positions UC as a global hub for interdisciplinary climate change expertise and a world leader in applied policy research on the subject,” Professor Ratuva says.  

The project will feed into the global climate change assessment led by the UNFCCC and mandated by Article 14 of the Paris Agreement for periodic stocktake of global climate change.

MBC is involved in many large current projects, including the $590,000 Health Research Council interdisciplinary project on social protection and Pacific health, as well as two projects commissioned by the Pacific Islands Forum (of which New Zealand is a member) on reform of the Pacific trade relationship with Japan, and reform of the Pacific regional political architecture.  

Professor Ratuva has previously led global ethnicity project The Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity, with over 100 scholars, and has published widely on development, conflict, political change, coups, social protection, elections, ethnicity, security, military, affirmative action, gender and nationalism.

He is Chair of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) research committee on Security, Conflict and Democratization and was the former President of the Pacific Islands Political Studies Association.

Professor Ratuva is an interdisciplinary scholar with expertise in sociology, anthropology, political science, development studies, economics, philosophy and history. He is a former Fulbright Professor at the University of California (LA), Duke University and Georgetown University, and also a recipient of a number of research awards such as Marsden and NZ Health Research Council grants. He was co-recipient of the UC Research Medal in 2019.

Professor Ratuva’s latest books are Guns and roses: Comparative civil military relations in the changing security environment (Palgrave-Springer, 2019); Palgrave handbook on ethnicity (Palgrave-Springer, 2019) and Contested terrain: Reconceptualising security in the Pacific (ANU Press, 2019).

His next three books consist of two edited volumes, Global risks, security and identity: A comparative approach (with his IPSA team)and COVID-19, social protection and resilience (with his HRC team), and a sole authored book, Epistemic siege: Neoliberalism and the commodification of knowledge.

Press release: University of Canterbury

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