There is a need to re-establish and advance debate and policy talk about climate change and sustainable development in the Pacific Islands region. To do this requires close collaboration with partner institutions in the area. The EU-funded ECOPAS (European consortium for Pacific studies) project mobilised the research expertise and wider network of Pacific studies and performing arts establishments in Europe and the Pacific. The overall aim was to develop a long-term strategy for social sciences and humanities (SSH) research on the Pacific and to form strong linkages with climate research in the natural sciences. Project partners created a comprehensive online database of experts and competences on Pacific issues, SSH and beyond. The database enables identification and access to various areas of expertise associated to Pacific climate change. By serving as a platform for knowledge exchange, it attracted the interest and participation of collaborating scholars, Pacific peoples, decision-makers, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and the general public. This helped to define and strengthen the potential of European research in and on the Pacific. A series of knowledge exchange, research networking and policy roundtable events gathered SSH experts and policymakers to discuss SSH research on Pacific climate change and EU policies from a Pacific perspective. In 2015, a major conference was held in Brussels that covered social, cultural and political aspects of climate change in the Pacific. By bringing together a broad range of stakeholders, this high-profile event succeeded in making the Pacific a climate change global priority. In addition, a world-class Pacific drama production on climate change toured Europe in 2015. Lastly, the ECOPAS team produced a long-term SSH research policy agenda for the Pacific Islands region and the challenges faced. ECOPAS gathered European and Pacific academic and research institutions and policymaking bodies, helping to restore the human dimension and the perspective of Pacific peoples in global debates about climate change.
Climate change, Pacific Islands, ECOPAS, social sciences and humanities