Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are experiencing the negative impacts of climate change, such as rising sea level, increasing frequency and intensity of drought and storm events, ocean acidification, and damage to coral reefs and fisheries. Recognizing and responding to these impacts, AECOM has developed a multi-faceted approach to support governments of 12 partner PICs. Through the USAID Climate Ready project, AECOM works to support partner governments and stakeholders to: draft and implement policies to achieve national adaptation goals; access and manage international sources of financing for resilience projects; and, improve capacity and systems to better manage and monitor resilience projects.

Selected Outcomes

In the first year, USAID Climate Ready has achieved the following:

  • Two national institutions with an improved capacity to address climate change risks;
  • Three programs, projects, and activities with facilitated access to international climate financing;
  • One institution with improved capacity to access climate finance, including through twinning partnerships; and
  • 72 regional professionals trained in climate change adaptation.

Project Highlight: Crosscutting Issues – Gender Equity and Social Inclusion

USAID Climate Ready
Kiribati – U.S. Ambassador presenting a graduation certificate to a participant of the USP/Pacific TAFE project management course.

The USAID Ready project supports Pacific Island Countries in increasing their resiliency to climate change through improved policies, access to finance and adaptation capacity. After completing consultations in 12 Pacific Island Countries, the project identified the need for improved project management skills as a key competency to develop in countries where climate resilient projects were operational. USAID Ready collaborated with the Pacific Technical and Further Education College (Pacific TAFE) of the University of the South Pacific (USP) to provide trainings in Palau, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Fiji to a total of 96 people (48 women and 48 men) in either project management or business continuity planning.

With high unemployment rates for persons with disabilities in developing countries and negative perceptions frequently holding them back in the workforce, AECOM ensured that gender equity and social inclusion were actively integrated into designing these training programs. To facilitate this, we piloted the use of a gender and social inclusion workbook and associated checklists when developing the training courses. The project is also collaborating with USP/Pacific TAFE to ensure that the updated course materials will become a fully integrated part of their curricula to ensure that on-going and future projects are appropriately including vulnerable people in their design, implementation and operation.

One project management training participant, Toam Iabeta, Assistant Infrastructure Officer at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy in Kiribati, remarked, “As a person living with a disability, I am very proud to represent my marginalized community during the project management course graduation. Thank you, to the U.S., for seeing my ability and giving me the opportunity to be part of this training…Often people living with disabilities and other marginalized groups are really forgotten in the planning of climate change adaptation programs. I hope with my new skills I will be able to change the perception of the Government and general public about people with disabilities and incorporate a more active engagement of people with disabilities in risk reduction activities in Kiribati.”

USAID Ready is a five-year project that supports governments and institutions to develop and implement environmental and disaster mitigation policies and strategies. The project works in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

For additional information, contact kena.vasquez@aecom.com or lindsey.roberts@aecom.com.

Disclaimer: This story/publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content is the responsibility of AECOM and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.