Marshall Islands spreads awareness on climate change adaptation

The first ever Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Climate Change Week took place from May 3-7, 2021, bringing together members of the public, government agencies, local and regional partners to share their experiences and lessons learnt in implementing climate change adaptation interventions in the country.

The week’s activities were funded and supported by the European Union, Global Climate Change Alliance Plus – Scaling up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+ SUPA) project and other development partners.  

The opening ceremony was held at Majuro’s Delap Park and attended by traditional leaders, members of Cabinet, diplomatic corps, government officials, NGOs, students, and other partners. The keynote message was delivered by His Excellency, President David Kabua who advocated for and emphasized on the collective effort required to combat climate change.

Marshall Islands climate change
His Excellency, President David Kabua (middle) with Ministers, senior government officials and members of the diplomatic corp at the opening ceremony.

A parade was held displaying some of the green modes of transportation piloted on the island including electric vehicles, scooters, and bikes. A climate change symposium, a debate, essay and poster competitions, and showcases featuring solid waste management and arts were among the activities held during the week. 

At the symposium, various agencies shared the progress of government initiatives in the climate change space with relevant stakeholders, development partners and members of the public.

The Ministry of Health and Human Services shared their experiences in managing the health risks of climate change. The efforts of the GCCA+ SUPA project were highlighted which since 2019 has brought together various government agencies and local partners to enhance food security and promote health and wellness activities in selected communities in Jaluit and Majuro atolls. This work is coordinated nationally by the Ministry of Health and Human Services and Canvasback Wellness Centre in conjunction with the RMI non-communicable disease cluster. The project also supported the preparation of the RMI National Climate Change Health Policy and Action Plan that has led to the establishment of the RMI Climate Change & Health Program.

Marshall Islands climate change
Local police department demonstrating the use of newly purchased electric scooters

The Climate Change Directorate Office under the Ministry of Environment presented the progress of the ‘Tile Til Eo’, the RMI 2050 climate strategy and RMI National Adaptation Plan. The National Energy Office focussed on the mitigation strategies and targets highlighting RMI’s goal to reduce their greenhouse emissions by nearly 45% by 2025 and 100% by 2050.

A showcase on solid waste management was hosted by RMI’s Environmental Protection Authority highlighting the effects of ocean pollution from disposal of oil fuels. The public were encouraged to use the whistle-blower scheme and report any fishing vessels that violate the laws and receive rewards.

Youth NGO Jo-Jikum led an arts showcase with singers, artists, and poets who shared their messages on the issues relating to climate change and health. This included products and performance from the alumni of the GCCA+ SUPA supported RMI Climate Change & Health Camp held during the summer of 2020.

Marshall Islands climate change
Solid waste management showcase by RMI EPA
Marshall Islands climate change
Marshall Islands climate change
Climate Arts showcase
Marshall Islands climate change

An essay, poster and painting competition was also organised for the youth and a debate on the topic, ‘should RMI citizens migrate overseas due to the impacts of climate change’ was held between the two colleges in RMI.

The RMI Climate Change Week was organised with the support of: Climate Change Directorate, National Energy Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Division of International Development Assistance, Environmental Protection Authority, the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Scaling Up Pacific Adaptation project, United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, International Organization for Migration, RMI Public School System, Ministry of Health and Human Service, Jo- Jikum, Marshall Islands Council of NGO’s and NDC Partnership Deep Dive Project.

The events were live streamed on social media channels and sessions broadcasted on radio.

Link to climate change symposium (GCCA+ SUPA info starts at 1:30:00)

Link to the Arts showcase

Link to debate competition

Marshall Islands climate change
Participants in the Climate Change Symposium