National Climate Assessment Town Hall for Hawai‘i and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands (March 6, 2017)

The East-West Center hosted the 4th National Climate Assessment’s Town Hall for Hawai‘i and Pacific Islands on the evening of March 6th the Imin International Conference Center. The Town Hall provided opportunity for the public discuss how climate change affects different sectors, livelihoods, and ecosystems in Hawai‘i and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands.

The objective of the Town Hall was to gather input from a diverse array of stakeholders throughout the Hawai‘i and Pacific Islands region to help inform the writing and development of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA4), which is scheduled for release in 2018. The event raised awareness of the process and timeline for NCA4.  Input offered by participants will be considered in the development of a regional chapter, with the goal to ensure that the final product is both scientifically sound and beneficial to communities.

Watch:  Panel of 4th National Climate Assessment Authors for Hawai‘i and U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands regional chapter

Panelists took comments and questions from the audience. Attendees were given the opportunity to share thoughts on areas that were not covered by the previously-identified focal areas for the NCA4 regional chapter.

The meeting opened with remarks by Dr. Richard R. Vuylsteke, East-West Center President and Kalisi Mausio of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. Following these remarks, Dr. Fred Lipschultz of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and Dr. Victoria Keener, East-West Center Fellow and Regional Chapter Lead for the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment, presented on the National Climate Assessment and the process to develop a regional chapter for Hawai‘i and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands. Audience members asked questions of a panel of the regional NCA4 authors, who are experts from the University of Hawai‘i, the East-West Center, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the private sector.

In addition to the Town Hall event, Sectoral Workshops, held on March 6 and 13, 2017 in Honolulu, convened 75 stakeholders (64 in-person and 11 virtual participants) from across the region by invitation. The workshops provided professionals the opportunity to share perspectives specific to their sector with the regional chapter authors. Participants attended one or more sessions focused around five sectors: coastal systems; ecosystems, ecosystem services, and biodiversity; indigenous communities; oceans and marine resources; and water. A final session on the afternoon of Mar 13, 2017, open to all workshop participants, focused on adaptation to regional climate change threats.

Town Hall Agenda

o   6pm – Welcome from Dr. Victoria Keener, NCA Regional Chapter Lead

o   6:05 – Welcome and Introduction from Dr. Richard Vuylsteke, President of the East-West Center

o   6:10 – 6:25 – Remarks from Kalisi Mausio, Polynesian Voyaging Society

o   6:25-6:45 – Background on the NCA4, Dr. Fred Lipschultz, US Global Change Research Program Regional Coordinator (from Washington DC)

o   6:45 – 7:00 – The HI and USAPI Regional Chapter Process, Dr. Victoria Keener, EWC Research Fellow and Chapter Lead Author

o   7:00 – 8:00 – Discussion and Q&A with expert panel of authors and audience (Susan Asam, Seema Balwani, Chip Fletcher, Dave Helweg, Tom Giambellca, Jeff Polovina, Gordon Tribble)

Co-Sponsors

East-West Center, United States Global Change Research Program, Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA), DOI Pacific Islands Climate Science Center, and Pacific RISA

Kalisi Mausio of the Polynesia Voyaging Society delivered an opening address