George Carter is taking part in the 2nd Pacific Island Universities Regional Network forum this week that focuses on exploring the challenges faced by the Pacific in its goal to achieve sustainability.
One of these challenges is the lack of support given to universities in the region in their contribution to the fight against climate change.
“Universities do two things and in regards to climate change, we implement them both. We teach the students about the impact of climate change in the region and its role in shaping the future of the Pacific and we research in its progress as well as explore ways to fight its effects,” said Carter.
His focus in the forum’s first session this morning was exploring and researching state behavior towards tackling climate change.
“There used to be very tough tasks the universities had to undertake in order to show that their roles in fighting climate change is important as well,” he said.
“A part of that is because funding and emphasis on climate change resilience efforts weren’t as big back then. So everyone lacked the funding to implement what was needed to be done. Nowadays we are introduced to more and more financial opportunities handed down to help us combat this threat,” he said.
It is this funding that Carter says has introduced a bigger window of opportunity to help the Pacific become a focus internationally in the threats it faces.
Carter says that with these opportunities though, come a need to have better partnerships from Governments and NGOs with universities in the Pacific.
“We now have the funding but we still haven’t gotten the firepower to really put a voice on what we are trying to sell. This is where universities come in. We have the experts, the well educated people who know what we are dealing with and it is important that we improve partnerships with NGOs and Government factors in both education, research and as well as regional and international representation,” he said.
The PIURN conference is being held over three days and the focus is on climate change.
Discussions will explore ways for regionally based universities to help sustain and conserve very important factors within the region, whether the threat is climate change, or a loss in native languages.