An interactive workshop on “Climate Change and Conflict in the Pacific: Prevention, Management and the Enhancement of Community Resilience” was held from 28-30 September 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand, hosted by Toda Peace Institute and the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago.
The workshop brought together 35 international experts on climate change, security policymakers and local peacebuilding practitioners and civil society actors in the Pacific. The experts came from Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Countries.
Kevin Clements, Director of Toda Peace Institute said, “The effects of climate change are already being felt. It is vital that we acknowledge its impact while initiating meaningful conversations between experts and people on the ground who are increasingly dealing with its realities.” The workshop explored a host of economic and cultural realities—and problems—that will all dictate how Pacific peoples and states respond to climate change. While there is comprehensive research on climate change and security at a global level with regional foci on Africa, the Sahel Zone and the Middle East, Oceania so far has attracted far less attention. This is surprising given the vulnerability of the region to the conflict-driving effects of climate change. The key goal of the workshop was to set a framework for research that informs policy, promotes dialogue between researchers, governments and social agencies and people in the region, and produces real-world initiatives to address one of the region’s most pressing issues—climate change.
The workshop established the ‘Auckland Climate Change, Conflict and Peace research and policy network’ in order to initiate and coordinate future activities. These include a number of policy briefs now published on this website and a draft Toda Oceania Statement on Climate Change, Conflict and Peace which will soon be available on the Toda Peace Institute website. Planning is underway to seek wide endorsement of this Statement.