1601 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96848 info@pacificrisa.org 808.944.7111

Updating the Regional Biosecurity Plan for Micronesia and Hawaiʻi

In 2007, the US Department of Defense announced that 4,000 marines stationed in Okinawa, Japan would be relocated to Guam, a process requiring considerable construction, air and sea traffic, and infrastructure upgrades. In response, the Micronesia Chief Executives and the Regional Invasive Species Council (RISC) raised special concerns about the movement of invasive plant and animal species with the build-up and relocation. Species that are not naturally found in a place, and that have negative biological, economic, social, or cultural impacts, are known as “invasive” and pose a longstanding threat in a region that relies on inter-island and international interchange. They are often transported unintentionally from place to place, such as insects that make their way to an island in a shipment of soil. Other species are brought intentionally – as pets, for agricultural crops, or simply for ornamental decoration. To better prepare for the military relocation, the RISC partnered with representatives from various countries at the federal, national, territory, and commonwealth levels, as well as industry and NGOs to prepare the first Regional Biosecurity Plan (RBP) for Micronesia and Hawaiʻi, which was released in 2015. Funded and supported by the US Navy, the comprehensive plan consists of four volumes and covers Hawaiʻi, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Please join us for a special meeting: 4th National Climate Assessment Town Hall for Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands Region

Please join us Monday, March 6, 2017 from 6pm-8pm for a special meeting: 4th National Climate Assessment Town Hall for Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands Region.

This meeting is open to the public. Remote access to the session, including remote virtual participation, will be available through GoTo Meeting.

To attend in person or to participate virtually, please RSVP HERE

The Town Hall is an opportunity to provide early input to the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA4) about how climate change affects different sectors, livelihoods, and ecosystems in Hawai‘i and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands. The objective is to convene a wide range of perspectives to inform the development of a regional chapter in NCA4 to ensure that the final product is both scientifically sound and beneficial to communities. 

Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) launches new website

The Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) has launched its new website at PIRCA.org.  The website provides a wealth of information and resources about climate change in Hawai‘i and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI).

The new website makes it easier to access the 2012 PIRCA Report, Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts and its findings, case studies, and figures. More than 100 scientific experts and practitioners contributed to the report, an integrated regional assessment that serves as technical input to the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment. The 2012 PIRCA report examines climate change impacts in Hawai‘i and the USAPI and assesses the adaptive capacity of Pacific Island communities.

Save the Date! Pacific RISA at the World Conservation Congress

Come learn about natural resource management and climate change at the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress! On September 3 at 3:30pm, we’ll be hosting a Pavilion event that’s free and open to the public, titled “Incorporating Climate Adaptation into Agency-Level Planning in the Pacific Islands Region.”

  • Date and Time: Saturday, September 3 from 3:30-4:30pm
  • Location: Hawai‘i Convention Center, 1st floor Exhibit Hall
  • Cost: FREE!

Sometimes called the “Olympics of Conservation,” information about the World Conservation Congress, which is being held in the United States for the first time, can be found here.

The Hawai‘i-Pacific Pavilion will host island nations, states, cities, and communities from across the region, featuring cultural, political, and scientific sessions, with an overall focus on community resilience in the face of climate change. Moderated by Pacific RISA PI Laura Brewington, the East-West Center is organizing this Pavilion event in collaboration with the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center, the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative, the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant program, and other regional partners along with IUCN members to present initiatives from resource management agencies that address how to best incorporate climate science into planning frameworks. The event is designed for natural resource managers, agencies, planners, and decision makers in the region and beyond who are interested in contributing to and learning from best practices for adaptation in the diverse and changing environments of the Pacific. We’ll be focusing on top-down and bottom-up planning strategies for adaptation to climate change, using the Hawai‘i Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee and the Aloha+ Challenge as forward-looking frameworks for multi-sectoral engagement.

RMI Declares Drought State of Emergency

On February 3rd, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) President, Dr. Hilda Heine, declared a state of emergency in response to intensifying drought conditions across the country. President Heine’s declaration anticipates that the drought will worsen, based on what is known about how El Niño affects rainfall in RMI.  The climate outlook for a continued strong El Niño means the drought is likely to last through May 2016. As a result, RMI faces potentially serious consequences for public health, food supply, and economy.

The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which is driving the drought, is an ocean-atmosphere climate cycle in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that is characterized by El Nino and La Nina phases, which recur approximately every three to seven years.  Since December 2015, the Pacific has experienced an El Niño event that is among the three strongest on record.  A recent policy analysis paper from the East-West Center and the University of Hawaii’s IPRC  explained the ENSO phenomenon and this year’s El Niño impacts and opportunities for preparation in greater depth.


January 12, 2016

Zena_LinkedIn_Pic_2_300pxThe Pacific RISA Program and the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai‘i are pleased to welcome the new Sustained Assessment Specialist for the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA).  Zena Grecni, MEM, joined the East-West Center in January. As Sustained Assessment Specialist, she will coordinate regional contributions to the National Climate Assessment and facilitate interactions within Hawaii and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) and with NCA agencies to expand and fill gaps in the assessment of regional climate knowledge, impacts, and adaptation strategies.  The Sustained Assessment Specialist will develop an independent, dedicated website for PIRCA to house the 2012 PIRCA outputs, provide the latest research and products, offer updates for the development of future PIRCA products, and serve as a valuable resource for stakeholders on the current status of regional climate and observed and anticipated trends.  Additionally, working with researchers at the East-West Center, Pacific RISA, and other regional entities, the Sustained Assessment Specialist will support the establishment of a set of biophysical and social indicators of climate change impacts and management responses, assessed on an ongoing basis to inform decision-making at the local, state, and national levels.  Initial funding for extending the reach and scope of the PIRCA process through an inclusive assessment is provided by the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center and the East-West Center.

Pacific Island Fact Sheets

Pacific Island Fact Sheets Released on El Niño and Sectoral Impacts

There is currently a strong El Niño event occurring, for which there are significant impacts around Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, including extended drought conditions, enhanced risk of damaging tropical cyclones, increased risk of coral bleaching, and possible spread of vector borne disease and illness.

The evolution and duration, strength and impacts of individual El Niño events can vary, in some cases greatly. This makes constant monitoring and awareness extremely important for decision makers across multiple sectors. Impacts also vary by island, and these seven fact sheets outline different physical impacts on different sectors and projected trends in relevant climate variables for Hawaii, American Sāmoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the eastern and western Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum

Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum focuses on strong El Niño event and regional impacts to the freshwater sector

The Pacific RISA participated in the first session of the Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum (PICOF-1) that was held from October 12-16, 2015 in Suva, Fiji, with a special focus on the water resources management sectors of the Pacific islands region. Co-sponsored by the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), NOAA, and more, the PICOF was hosted by the University of the South Pacific in Suva to bring together national, regional, and international experts on climate services and the water management sector.