Global Impact Clusters
Energy, Resources, Food and Water

Global impact case studies

The Pacific Islands

Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs) encompass a combined population of approximately 10.57 million people across more than 550,000 square kilometres of land. Expansive and inherently diverse, the region’s collective maritime domain expands over 30 million square kilometres. PICTs are rich in marine reserves and remain highly dependent on biological resources and healthy ecosystems for survival with fishing, agriculture and tourism the mainstays of the economies of most Pacific island countries and territories. Despite the abundance of such natural resources, PICTs are significantly challenged by their vast geographical distances along with the consequential high costs of transportation and connectivity and are often challenged with striving to balance the needs and economic aspirations of growing populations with the maintenance of healthy environments and natural systems.

With many challenges faced within the region unable to be addressed solely on a country-by-country basis, the United Nations General Assembly has recently adopted the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway. This pathway affirms the commitment for PICTs to focus on capacity building initiatives to ensure conservation and protection of the region’s fragile environment and assist the development of resilient societies and economies.

With international engagement and expanded global reach a priority for the GIC ERFW, the University in collaboration with environmental protection organisation, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) are working towards the implementation of an integrated Research Roadmap for the region. The Research Roadmap details co-operative and sustainable solutions to the complex challenges related to climate change resilience, ecosystem and biodiversity protection, waste management and pollution control, and environmental governance faced by Pacific island people.

The Research Roadmap facilitates the shared initiatives of UON, SPREP and its Member countries through:

  • The implementation of targeted PhD scholarships enabling opportunities for Pacific island nationals to work on identified research projects aligned to SPREP’s regional goals with co-supervision from UON academics and relevant regional universities.
  • Accredited research and education pathways for increased transfer of knowledge through the delivery of doctoral, vocational and block training in the region.
  • Supporting businesses and governments through an innovation incubator to facilitate research, industry and government engagement for the transfer of research knowledge to build innovation and competitive advantage.

NIER Research and Development Coordinator Justine Ulph is leading this partnership with counterparts at SPREP and through the award of an international development scholarship, an initiative of UON’s NeW Futures. The implementation of the Research Roadmap and the University’s expanded international engagement through the GIC ERFW represents the shared commitment to delivering a flexible framework and supporting platform for research excellence and innovation with flow-on benefits for not only environmental protection but economic development and jobs growth in the Pacific region.

Download the Research Road Map (PDF)