More than 1400 participants from 55 countries have enrolled for the first-ever free online Pacific Climate Change mini course, which is being conducted by The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) award winning climate change team from the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD).
Around 400 of these registrations occurred in the first 24 hours, showing a strong demand for more information on climate change in the Pacific.
The five-week course, which started on 28 August 2015, is like an introduction to the existing postgraduate courses run by USP.
It provides an overview of the science of climate change, its impacts on the Pacific, particular challenges and vulnerabilities of Pacific Islands and building resilience for people involved with planning for natural resources, economics and social development.
School of Education Fellow, Mr Ian Thomson said that the mini course is an introduction to climate change to help people, especially in the Pacific region, to understand the issues, impacts and how to adapt to climate change.
He added that the course looked at the unique challenges facing the Pacific and covers the basic science of climate change in the Pacific, disaster risk reduction, food security and building resilience. It also includes a field study exercise.
Lecturer at PaCE-SD, Dr Antoine De Ramon N’Yeurt said that climate change is an issue that everybody has to know about these days.
“The more people who are aware of climate change and its associated impacts on their lives, the better prepared they will be to address the issues and pass this knowledge to others in their communities,” he added.
Director of PaCE-SD, Professor Elisabeth Holland said that USP plays an essential role in raising awareness and capacity building on climate change issues, and was excited by the response.
She added that PaCE-SD works collaboratively with students, communities and governments to find climate solutions for the climate and disaster challenges facing the Pacific.
For example, through the EU Global Climate Change Alliance and the USAID Coastal Community Adaptation Programme, PaCE-SD is assisting more than 100 communities in 15 countries across the Pacific.
According to Professor Holland, so far, USP through the PaCE-SD has successfully trained 129 Postgraduate and 23 Master of Science graduates in climate change.
She added that PaCE-SD is now working on developing solution focused courses for technical vocational education and training for climate adaptation and sustainable energy through the European Union Pacific Technical and Vocational Education and Training (EU PacTVET) project being implemented in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.