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Development in Action Webinar Series

Climate change challenges for Pacific Small Island Developing States

Date: 26/11/2024

Time: 09:00 – 10:00 (UK time)

Location: Online

Climate change challenges for Pacific Small Island Developing States

In this webinar, Commonwealth Alumnus Mahendra Kumar will discuss the need for Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to prioritise climate change as the number one development and security issue for the region.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report paints a dire picture for many island nations which have contributed the least to climate change but are facing the largest impacts. Three of the four atoll nations facing existential threats are situated in the Pacific.

The Pacific’s unique vulnerability in the face of climate change and sea level rise has the potential to create major regional dislocations and significant migration, as well as a causing detrimental damage to ecosystems and livelihoods.

Dr Kumar will discuss the circumstances contributing to the region’s unique vulnerability, the strategies adopted by Pacific countries to tackle the climate threat, and the challenges they face in their collective quest to save their homelands.

This webinar will address the CSC development themes, Strengthening resilience and response to crises. 

The webinar will last for approximately one hour, including a Q&A session.

The CSC’s Development in Action webinar series provides an opportunity for Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni to present on their work and contribution to development across a range of contemporary global challenges and provide insight into ongoing research and action.

Open to all Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni, the monthly webinars will address one of the CSC’s six development themes and provide an opportunity for attendees to engage in real-time Q&A discussion on the topic presented.

You can watch previous webinars on the CSC’s YouTube channel.

Dr Mahendra Kumar is a senior climate change specialist with wide experience in climate change, development, and energy and environment programmes mainly in the Pacific region. He is an Honorary Associate Professor at the Institute of Climate Change, Energy & Disaster Solutions (ICEDS), Australian National University, Canberra.

He has been part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for over two decades representing the Pacific Island Governments, CROP agencies, and civil society. He currently serves on the UNFCCC Roster of Experts providing technical and policy advice to governments in international negotiations, implementation of Paris Agreement, and access to climate finance.

Dr Kumar’s previous roles include serving at universities, mainly University of the South Pacific in Fiji, and international organisations such as Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Pacific Islands Development Forum, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) as well as NGOs including the International Diplomat and Pacific Islands Climate Action Network.

Dr Mahendra Kumar is a 1977 Commonwealth Scholar from Fiji. He completed a PhD in Environmental Physics from University of Nottingham.