finding 27.5 : key-message-27-5

Indigenous peoples of the Pacific are threatened by rising sea levels, diminishing future freshwater availability, and shifting ecosystem services. These changes imperil communities’ health, well-being, and modern livelihoods, as well as their familial relationships with lands, territories, and resources (likely, high confidence). Built on observations of climatic changes over time, the transmission and protection of traditional knowledge and practices, especially via the central role played by Indigenous women, are intergenerational, place-based, localized, and vital for ongoing adaptation and survival.



This finding is from chapter 27 of Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II.

Process for developing key messages:

To frame this chapter, the regional leads wanted to maximize inclusiveness and represent the key sectoral interests of communities and researchers. To select sectors and a full author team, the coordinating lead author and regional chapter lead author distributed an online Google survey from September to October 2016. The survey received 136 responses representing Hawaiʻi and all the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) jurisdictions; respondents identified which of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) sectors they were most interested in learning about with respect to climate change in the Pacific Islands and suggested representative case studies.884675c9-3e31-483d-b6b9-fd53b99875ae The five top sectors were picked as the focus of the chapter, and a total of eight lead authors with expertise in those sectors were invited to join the regional team. To solicit additional participation from potential technical contributors across the region, two informational webinars spanning convenient time zones across the Pacific were held; 35 people joined in. The webinars outlined the NCA history and process, as well as past regional reports and ways to participate in this Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4).

A critical part of outlining the chapter and gathering literature published since the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA3)dd5b893d-4462-4bb3-9205-67b532919566 was done by inviting technical experts in the key sectors to participate in a half-day workshop led by each of the lead authors. A larger workshop centered on adaptation best practices was convened with participants from all sectors, as well as regional decision-makers. In all, 75 participants, including some virtual attendees, took part in the sectoral workshops on March 6 and 13, 2017. Finally, to include public concerns and interests, two town hall discussion events on March 6 and April 19, 2017, were held in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, and Tumon, Guam, respectively. Approximately 100 participants attended the town halls. Throughout the refining of the Key Messages and narrative sections, authors met weekly both via conference call and in person to discuss the chapter and carefully review evidence and findings. Technical contributors were given multiple opportunities to respond to and edit sections. The process was coordinated by the regional chapter lead and coordinating lead authors, as well as the Pacific Islands sustained assessment specialist.

Description of evidence base:

The research supporting this Key Message examines the impacts of climate change on the lands, territories, and resources of the Pacific region and its Indigenous communities.

It is foundational to highlight the interconnectedness and important familial relationship Indigenous peoples have with their lands, territories, and resources. Native Hawaiian attorneys and professors Sproat and Akutagawa discuss the health impacts and threats that climate change poses for Indigenous communities and their relationship with ancestral resources. Sproat states that “any such loss will result in the loss of culture.”9c017401-c8d2-4d9f-9d69-4a7bb247594b Further support is found in a community health assessment done by Akutagawa and others that states, “In traditional Hawaiian conceptions of health, personal harmony and well-being are deemed to stem from one’s relationship with the land, sea, and spiritual world”.85e07f9f-b899-4b21-8028-3a9c2d85d792

Governments and their support institutions are also sharing outcomes of projects they’ve initiated over the years that document not only the successes but also the challenges, observations, and lessons learned.567b51b3-07f8-4e75-81d5-76b394218947,dc476aa0-a3d5-4ed5-92ac-35d13833a417 This includes the recognition of the dominant role of Indigenous women in island communities as gatherers and in household activities; economic development activities like transporting and selling produce;3b7edc70-ad64-4d4f-8089-3ec5769fcd91 distribution of crops;dc476aa0-a3d5-4ed5-92ac-35d13833a417 maintenance of crop diversity, food security, security of income, seed saving, and propagation; transmission of traditional knowledge and practices, especially spiritual practices;af0879e3-bdd4-4897-a7e4-06f522b4637f and stewarding underwater reef patches and stone enclosures as gardens.80d6c78b-a36d-48cd-a0a7-a20e017f9256

In writing this Key Message, the authors considered the body of research focusing on the impacts of climate change on Pacific communities such as sea level rise,b36fdfcb-d735-4cad-a0df-806725e7d8f4,459f3dbf-d2a0-4fdc-aa80-f87324643a44,6ccc89fd-ed4b-4872-bb37-936b4feb7ff2,9c017401-c8d2-4d9f-9d69-4a7bb247594b,3b33940f-133c-445d-91a0-edfbe2fa2151 ocean acidification,ae901019-a648-4f5b-b572-1c3e4da60da2,459f3dbf-d2a0-4fdc-aa80-f87324643a44,6ccc89fd-ed4b-4872-bb37-936b4feb7ff2,9c017401-c8d2-4d9f-9d69-4a7bb247594b,7d78fe4b-fdd0-4637-8a05-13a92a8e6fcd and drought.6ccc89fd-ed4b-4872-bb37-936b4feb7ff2,9c017401-c8d2-4d9f-9d69-4a7bb247594b,dc476aa0-a3d5-4ed5-92ac-35d13833a417,7d78fe4b-fdd0-4637-8a05-13a92a8e6fcd,80d6c78b-a36d-48cd-a0a7-a20e017f9256,3b33940f-133c-445d-91a0-edfbe2fa2151,35cdc08e-094f-4f3b-b86d-16ec4f03a1da Clear examples used in the studies illustrate the confidence that Indigenous communities are at high risk for experiencing effects at a physical,85e07f9f-b899-4b21-8028-3a9c2d85d792,9170df9c-8512-4ec2-ab86-965051c6c6ae social,b6b97866-7f94-48b4-8d8a-25d4893bbf23,f84e13cd-8788-4058-9e4e-2090e74dee8c,85e07f9f-b899-4b21-8028-3a9c2d85d792,9c017401-c8d2-4d9f-9d69-4a7bb247594b,7d78fe4b-fdd0-4637-8a05-13a92a8e6fcd,35cdc08e-094f-4f3b-b86d-16ec4f03a1da and spiritual level.5db43854-3226-408c-a5ef-aa7898146f1f,ae901019-a648-4f5b-b572-1c3e4da60da2,d5d21d7b-fb25-463b-b134-7a459fb29cf8,f84e13cd-8788-4058-9e4e-2090e74dee8c,85e07f9f-b899-4b21-8028-3a9c2d85d792,9c017401-c8d2-4d9f-9d69-4a7bb247594b,9170df9c-8512-4ec2-ab86-965051c6c6ae

There is very strong evidence that traditional knowledge is key to the resilience and adaptive capacity of Indigenous peoples of the Pacific.5db43854-3226-408c-a5ef-aa7898146f1f,ae901019-a648-4f5b-b572-1c3e4da60da2,85e07f9f-b899-4b21-8028-3a9c2d85d792,6a17649e-1a24-40c9-825b-a6fc1a63d66f,7d78fe4b-fdd0-4637-8a05-13a92a8e6fcd,af0879e3-bdd4-4897-a7e4-06f522b4637f,80d6c78b-a36d-48cd-a0a7-a20e017f9256

New information and remaining uncertainties:

There is no doubt that Indigenous communities of the Pacific are being impacted by climate change. However, the rate and degree of the impacts on the spiritual, relational, and ancestral connectedness varies from community to community and on the type of practice being impacted. This variable is difficult to document and express in certain circumstances. Additionally, the degree of the impact varies according to the livelihoods of the community and the specific climatic and socioeconomic and political circumstances of the island in question.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence:

There is high confidence that climate change is having far-reaching effects on the land security, livelihood security, habitat security, and cultural food security of Indigenous peoples of the Pacific.

It is likely that most of these impacts will have negative effects on the cultural heritage of the Pacific island communities.

There is high confidence that traditional knowledge together with science will support the adaptive capacity of Pacific island communities to survive on their islands.

References :

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