USAID grants help FSM communities cope with climate change and enhance livelihoods

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Embassy of the United States of America in Kolonia - April 09, 2015 -  The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Pacific American Climate Fund (PACAM) has awarded grants to two organizations in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to enhance the resilience of the island communities against the impact of climate change and improve their livelihoods. Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei (MERIP ) will receive $343,590 for its initiative, Climate Change Adaptation and Income Diversification in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, to boost the income-earning opportunities for Pohnpei Island's 35,000 inhabitants, and the College of Micronesia - FSM, will receive $556,264 for its Climate Resilient Adoption and Mainstreaming (CREAM) project to educate community members of climate-resilient agricultural methods on the Island of Yap.

Communities in the FSM are among the most environmentally vulnerable groups in the Pacific Islands, suffering from flooding, loss of biodiversity and soil degradation. The new projects aim to help the residents better manage risks related to changing weather patterns and adopt strategies to preserve their environment and improve income opportunities. At the launch event held in Pohnpei on March 25, 2015, the Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the U.S. Embassy, Hugues Ogier said, "We work hand in hand to respond to the threat of climate change and find solutions to best cope with it. It is a pleasure to celebrate with you today this assistance provided by the American people to the people of Micronesia." With the USAID support, the first grantee, MERIP, a humanitarian, non-profit organization, will work to confront the decreasing fish habitat and coral cover on the coast of the Island of Pohnpei by supporting small-scale aquaculture ventures, including farming of giant clams, sponges and coral. In addition, it will train farmers on growing and marketing aquaculture products to reduce their dependency on the diminishing fish stocks and implement four pilot projects to protect shorelines, water quality and coral health. The second grantee, the College of Micronesia - FSM, will mitigate climate change impacts, including soil degradation and lack of freshwater, through training communities in smallplot intensive farming, livestock integration, community gardening and agroforestry, based on a model successfully developed in Gargey Village in Yap. It will also work with government partners to develop a Coastal Management Policy for the FSM to better manage risks related to the changing climate. The Pacific-American Climate Fund (PACAM) is a grant-making facility funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that assists twelve Pacific island countries to reduce long-term vulnerabilities associated with climate change. PACAM awards grants to civil society organizations in support of climate change adaptation measures and related "co-benefits", such as livelihoods enhancement, improved health, food security, improved health, disaster risk reduction, or sustainable natural resources management. USAID funding is separate from Compact funds.