The 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Network Forum commenced this week at the Asian Development Bank Headquarters in Manila, Philippines with Palau co-hosting the regional event with Asian Development Bank.

Event themed “Enabling Resilience for All: Avoiding the Worst Impacts” brought experts and practitioners from across the Asia Pacific region together to address actions to mitigate impact of climate change and address ways of  helping communities adapt and survive the impacts of the climate change.

Palau delegation which consisted of various entities including Office of Climate Change, Palau International Coral Reef Center, Palau National Marine Sanctuary, Heirs to Oceans, Palau Coral Reef Research Foundation, Ministry of Resources, Environment and Tourism, PANF, Palau Conservation Society and State representatives and support staffs showcased what Palau had done and is doing to enable resilience and adaptation to climate change in Palau’s communities.

“We still have a long way to go in terms fully preparing ourselves, incorporating adaptation and resilience policies and practices across our communities but we have a climate change policy in place that we are working with,” stated Xavier E. Matsutaro, National Climate Change Coordinator.

Discussions centered around successful practices, lessons learned of previous disasters, innovative technologies, rekindling and utilization of traditional knowledge in conjunction with scientific data and information to address risk and build resilience in the communities.

Conference highlighted the very successful role of the much younger generation in spreading the awareness and galvanizing communities to make proactive decisions that promote healthier and resilient communities.  From Palau, representing Heirs to Oceans Miel Sequeira-Holms, spoke of what Heirs to Oceans is all about and her role to play as young person promoting the well-being of oceans for her and generations to come.  She was joined by other young advocates from Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand to showcase what young people can do to raise awareness and galvanize communities to action to mitigate climate change impacts.

In terms of surviving the impacts and adapting to changes, Sisca Skiwo of Kayangel State legislature, recounted experiences during Typhoon Haiayan and impact in her community and on going efforts to build resilience in case of another super storm.  Bernie Ngiralmau of PCS, showcased the project of Mesei revival using traditional knowledge and scientific studies to implement mitigation measures to combat erosion, siltation whilst building food security for various communities in Palau as well.

Climate Change Coordinator Matsutaro assures that their office serves to coordinate and create collaboration between stakeholders and agencies to build adaptation measures combat ever increasing risks as result of climate change. (L.N. Reklai)