Small Island Developing States (SIDS) located in the Pacific are severely exposed to the negative impacts of climate change due to their fragile natural environments, biophysical settings, and ecosystems. Pacific Island countries experience up to four times greater sea-level rise than the global average, amplifying the risk of coastal hazards. Environmental degradation and food insecurity have led to the relocation of several low-lying coastal communities, but also exacerbate the economic and sustainable development challenges faced by SIDS. Today, the investments required to adapt to climate change far outweigh the financial capability within each country. To increase climate resilience and adaptive capacity, collective action on many fronts is required.
CommonSensing is an international project, funded by UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) through the BEIS Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) that supports Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands to achieve climate resilience and sustainable development using innovative solutions. The project will last until march 2022, with the following main goals:
- Improve risk management of climate change, disaster risk reduction and food security;
- Strengthen the capacity to access climate finance and climate funds;
- Enhance national and regional climate action policy.
The project benefits from the varied experiences and strengths of the consortium thanks to their world-leading expertise on Satellite Remote Sensing, Sustainable Development, Data Analysis and Modelling, Business Analysis and Climate Financing.
CommonSensing’s Work Towards the Goals
In regards to achieving the goals, the CommonSensing is continuously working towards:
- Developing satellite-based information services that match respective country’s challenges to enhance decision making and help each country to prepare for long-term climate change-related events;
- Enhancing the capacity of governments, ministries, and agencies in the respective countries to strengthen their climate action policy as well as the capacity for climate resilience and disaster risk reduction;
- Providing Fiji, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands with access to evidence-based information on land degradation and natural hazards that can advocate planning towards a resilient agriculture system;
- Build capacity in-country in the use of the information services strengthening technical skills around the region and place specialists within Government structures to ensure local knowledge and data systems benefit from the added capabilities from CommonSensing;
- Strengthen each country’s capacity to access international climate funds;
- Collecting information about the status and changes in the natural environment in each country using Earth Observation to provide information about future impacts of climate change.
- Access to climate funds that will provide Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands with essential resources and infrastructure to adapt to climate change across multiple sectors;
- Reduced economic losses caused by natural disasters;
- Reduced costs in accessing innovative software solutions and Earth Observation data.
- Reduced human losses from natural disasters;
- Better education and awareness of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for building resilient communities;
- Evidence-based insight on each nation’s food production systems and land usage to enhance food security.
- Better information to support the sustainable usage of natural resources and improved ecosystem conservation through the use of Earth Observation based solutions;
- Greater information to guide the planning and implementation of climate change adaption initiatives to address the adverse impacts of climate change on sustainable development;
- Facilitating the approaches for disaster risk reduction and evidence for the risk areas driven by climate driven hazards;
- improved availability of climate information to support climate change adaptation and enhance community resilience.
- Fiji’s Ministry of Economy
- Vanuatu’s Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-hazards, Environment, and Energy & National Disaster Management)
- Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management, and Meteorology.
The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) is a five-year, £152 million programme designed to partner UK space expertise with overseas governments and organizations. It is funded from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Global Challenges Research Fund.
The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund that forms part of the UK Government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment and is overseen by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrials Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through 17 delivery partners including the Research Councils, the UK Academies, the UK Space Agency, and funding bodies. It harnesses the expertise of the UK’s world-leading researches, focusing on:
- funding challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research;
- Strengthening capability for research, innovation, and knowledge exchange;
- Providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research or on-the-ground need.