2021 Pacific Resilience Meeting: Our People, Our Journey: Nurturing Pacific Resilience from Home

The 2nd annual Pacific Resilience Meeting, sponsored by the Pacific Resilience Partnership, took place from July 5 through July 8. This year’s theme was “Our People, Our Journey: Nurturing Pacific Resilience from Home.” 

The Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP) was established in 2017 by Pacific Island leaders as part of governance arrangements to support the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP).

“The PRM provides a platform that brings together all stakeholders within the resilience space to elevate and demonstrate relevant Pacific-led resilience actions that inspire genuine learning and connection through diverse and inclusive approaches from our home to the global stage,” read a statement on the PRM website.

The Pacific Resilience Meeting (PRM) was split over several days into sessions hosted by scholars, project managers, and experts who work in the Pacific’s environmental and governmental fields. Each session’s speakers led conversations about what resilience looks like in the face of environmental and climate crises. 

One of the sessions, called Care for Nature: Building a Resilient Pacific through Nature-Based Solutions, was a virtual dialogue between attendees and speakers. The attendees were asked to engage in a series of polls, prompting localized responses on environmental issues and conversations about how nature-based solutions can be applied to environmental issues across the Pacific. 

The session’s speakers offered an overview of nature-based solutions, covering how they are defined, challenges to their application, and the best ways to implement them. Project managers presented local applications and detailed the impacts of their efforts in local and regional communities across the Pacific.

Joshua Wycliffe, Permanent Secretary at Fiji’s Ministry of Environment and Waterways, described the effects of one of the projects that his ministry spearheaded. Wycliffe showed a before and after image of a seawall built on the Namoli village coastline, which was made with large boulders, mud, mangroves, and gaps for plants and other wildlife to grow. 

“It makes a very big difference,” Wycliffe said. “We have a protective, nature-based, three-layer protection,” which “totally alleviates the need for the community to be relocated, so we win on so many areas. We win on community location, and we win on biodiversity, and protection.” He also added, “We found that it was at one-tenth of the cost. We were spending half a million for a proper seawall those days with concrete and cement, but this nature-based seawall is equally durable for another 25 years and cost us only $40,000-50,000 (FJ$).”

A concept note for the Pacific Resilience Meeting explained this year’s mission; “Through Pacific storytelling approaches, localized understanding of resilience-building actions that provide learning and contribute to the fabric of resilience across our region, and the generation of Pacific-led and owned spaces to drive increased resilience standards that are relevant, effective, and culturally sound. This is our home, and finding ways to make our Pacific region more resilient will provide for a future that is secure and enables the sustained well-being of our people and communities.” 

Relevant resources:

Pacific Resilience Meeting website

PRM Session 12: Care for nature: Building a resilient Pacific through Nature-based Solutions

2nd Pacific Resilience Meeting: Chair’s Summary

Suzanna DeCosta

Digital Journalist, Pacific Environment Weekly

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