CORDIS - EU research results

European Consortium for Pacific Studies

Final Report Summary - ECOPAS (European Consortium for Pacific Studies)

Executive Summary:
ECOPAS / Executive Summary
ECOPAS (the European Consortium for Pacific Studies) is an innovative and ambitious multi-disciplinary project designed to provide coordination and support to research and policy communities on issues connected to climate change and related processes in the Pacific Islands region. The overarching objective is to define better options for sustainable development in the Pacific and to provide a wide range of research-based knowledge to reach this goal. ECOPAS has been organised as a Consortium with six institutional partners and has followed a concise three-year Work Programme of interrelated activities. The six partners are four recognized European university centres of excellence in Pacific studies in Norway, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (Bergen BPS, Aix-Marseille CREDO, St. Andrews CPS and Nijmegen CPAS), and two major Pacific institutions (the University of the South Pacific, Fiji, and the National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea). The Consortium thereby includes the premier research university of the Pacific Islands region, as well as the most prominent policy research institute in the largest Pacific nation. The Consortium’s research focus is on the social sciences and humanities, and the ECOPAS project was designed in response to the FP7 call SSH.2012.2.2-4 ‘Climate change uncertainties: Policymaking for the Pacific front’. The six Consortium Participants had long-term relationships of cooperation among them before ECOPAS was initiated, and collectively constitute a significant, in many respects unique, high-quality research resource in the social sciences and humanities for the European Commission’s engagement in and for the Pacific. The collective scientific coverage of ECOPAS is broad and ranges beyond the social sciences and humanities, in that the Consortium’s Participants, scientific advisory board, collaborating scientists and steering committees include leading scholars in a wide range of relevant disciplines such as climate change studies and meteorology. Notably, ECOPAS has also integrated the performing arts in forging new channels for Europe-Pacific cooperation and communication and climate change awareness, in that the project partnership in Fiji includes a prominent arts centre with resident choir and dance ensembles. Having achieved the objectives defined for the 3-year duration of the FP7 grant, the ECOPAS project has become the first-ever network to develop extensive, durable collaboration between European and Pacific scholarly institutions in Pacific studies, as well as between research institutions and local, national and international political agencies in Europe and the Pacific. Built on seven interrelated Work Packages, ECOPAS has aimed to define and strengthen the potential of European research in and on the Pacific by creating a platform and portal for knowledge exchanges among scholars and policy makers, a long-term plan for capacity building in both Europe and the Pacific, and a strategic plan for Pacific state and non-state involvement in key global challenges. While ECOPAS has been coordinated from the University of Bergen, the project’s seven Work Packages have been directed by the participating centres, thus guaranteeing maximal efficiency and feasibility of Work Programme and Deliverables. ECOPAS has grown in the 3-year grant period to become the globally leading research network in the field of Pacific Studies, and has progressively involved additional associate researchers from a broader range of institutions with strong track records and international visibility. During the project’s stages, the collective networks of the six Participant institutions throughout Europe, in the Anglophone and Francophone Pacific, and in North America has resulted in near complete participation of the world’s community of Pacific scholars. Major final outcomes of the project are the world’s most comprehensive online database on Pacific research expertise, new but already established channels between scholars, European Union policy-makers and Pacific diplomats for research-based knowledge exchange, innovative Pacific-based models for grassroots-based documentation of local impacts from global climate change, a world-class Pacific drama performance on climate change, and the cumulative development and delivery of a comprehensive, forward-looking, long-term social science and humanities research policy agenda for the Pacific Islands region in terms of the challenges of our time.

Also Attached in PDF document ECOPAS FINAL REPORT 32098

Project Context and Objectives:

ECOPAS / Summary Description of Project Context and Objectives
In the original design of the Work Programme, ECOPAS took heed of the specific challenges presented in the FP7 Call SSH.2012.2.2-4 ‘Climate change uncertainties: Policymaking for the Pacific front’:
• Take stock of on-going research on the impact of climate change on the Pacific Islands, and other small island states sharing similar problems. Support EU policy-making work on the links between climate change and security-stability-conflict prevention issues, but also migration, governance, access to resources and economic development, so as to define better options for sustainable development;
• Help to address key policy coherence issues (such as combining Official Development Assistance and non-Official Development Assistance funds, ways to support EU Member States and other partners to define the Pacific as a ‘climate change global priority’); analyse the adaptation of international funding instruments to the Pacific context and priorities;
• Make recommendations on strategies to involve Pacific and EU non-state actors, local authorities, parliaments and the private sector in addressing climate change;
• Define a relevant and forward-looking social sciences and humanities research policy agenda for the Pacific region.
Collectively, the six Consortium Participants of the ECOPAS project expressed confidence that shared resources and expertise could meet those challenges. The search for deepened knowledge and heightened dialogue among SSH researchers and between scholarship and policy-making indeed was seen as central to the concerns of Pacific scholars whether based in Europe or the Pacific. The FP7 call was understood to ask for several levels of results and impacts:

A first level of meeting the requirement to build a solid platform coordinated through activities of the European Society for Oceanists (ESfO) as well as other scheduled milestone events for coordinating European researchers working in and on the Pacific, and to equip this scholarly community with channels of communication towards arenas for policy-making – and conversely, to connect EU agencies engaged in the Pacific to the expertise of this scholarly community.

On a second level, this platform for knowledge exchange needs to work in collaboration with the research institutions of the Pacific Islands nations themselves. The ECOPAS partnership is well-equipped to meet these needs through its integration of European and Pacific institutions. The six ECOPAS Participants engaged in dedicated collective efforts to prepare for and build the project, the initial stages of which included a comprehensive review of published and grey literature on climate issues in the Pacific, and a first ‘Pacific Connections’ event in Warsaw, organised by the future Consortium partners for the European Development Days already in December 2011. Our ambition was to ensure that this collaboration could row in scale and scope to strengthen the strategic planning of research management and activities in the Pacific partner institutions, both by expanding their contacts across the Pacific (focusing on the axis whereby Papua New Guinea is connected to the region-wide network of the University of the South Pacific) with further links to institutions in the Francophone Pacific, and by enhancing their contacts with European researchers and policy-makers.

On a third level, the flows of information, contacts and relations generated by the ECOPAS Work Programme would provide for a European-Pacific platform for knowledge exchange designed to deepen the understanding of climate change and of a broader range of inter-connected issues, in the Pacific context. ECOPAS would institutionalise lines of exchange, drawing into them researchers in many European as well as Pacific universities, policy-makers in Brussels, and grass-roots movements in islands of the Pacific. The project would attribute meaningful connections between climate change and issues of state and government stability, migration, governance, resource management, agricultural and economic development, to define better options for sustainable development, informed by Pacific perspectives, ambitions and solutions.

The grounding of knowledge in the lived and experienced worlds of Pacific people and their institutions has been the key to the ECOPAS approach from the beginning. This grounding is, moreover, absolutely crucial for the adaptation of international funding instruments to the Pacific context, and for designing new agendas for social science and humanities research for the Pacific region. With these ambitions in mind, the concepts and objectives of the ECOPAS Work Programme were progressively and logically described through seven Work Packages whose results were deemed to be achievable within the three-year duration of the project.

The ECOPAS Consortium was primarily designed to strengthen connections and communications between Europe’s leading Pacific research centres, the broader European SSH research community focused on Oceania, major research and policy institutions in the Pacific, and the EU Commission through EEAS (European External Action Services). ECOPAS aimed to establish and institutionalise a strong and sustainable community of Pacific scholarship in Europe, closely connected with the Pacific institutional scene, for the EU Commission to draw on in the long term, also after the project’s duration through mechanisms established in the project period.

ECOPAS aimed, then, to create an interface between the research community and policymakers, politicians and governments in the Pacific region. The Consortium’s ambition was to establish an agenda of research priorities, and create a medium for regularly discussing and updating these priorities in the future, also with governmental and non-governmental institutions. A major objective in that regard was for ECOPAS to design new models and channels for knowledge exchange between Pacific research and EU policy-making. ECOPAS also aimed to create an easily accessible interface for different types of actors (NGOs, local and national governments, EC agencies in the Pacific, in Brussels, etc.) to engage in informed decision-making processes in relation to climate change and its socio-political impacts – thereby enhancing the visibility of relevant European research expertise in the social sciences in general, and in the convergence of socio-environmental issues in particular.

In terms of institutional development within and connected to the Consortium, is was envisaged that the formation of ECOPAS would enhance the quality of teaching and collaborative research projects in the future, through the identification of existing expertise, knowledge resources and research needs concerning Pacific climate change issues and the establishment of channels for scientific exchange and collaboration. This was assumed to help define platforms and modes of communication, and thus greatly increase and intensify the collaboration between European and Pacific institutions of research and higher education in defining research priorities, in creating new models for climate change focused documentation and communication (including the active role of Pacific art forms), and coordinating and undertaking future collaborative research.

Finally, the ECOPAS Work Programme proposed to design tools for conveying questions and issues about climate change to the wider society in Europe and the Pacific through media and awareness programmes. In the 21st century it will be increasingly important for social science and humanities approaches to environment and climate change issues to not only observe society through quantitative data and economic templates for development, but also to involve local grassroots perspectives on social change and environmental impact as party to analysis. ECOPAS promised to make considerable effort to merge concerns and experiences on the ground level of Pacific societies both with European SSH research and European policy priorities.

The ECOPAS project’s objectives for the 3-year period have been fulfilled in their entirety, with a few minor exceptions (in Work Packages 4 and 5) caused by infrastructural challenges in the Pacific context, but remedied for the project as a whole through the interdependencies of Work Packages across time schedules and budgets. The core concept of ‘Pacific Connections’ has been a trademark of the ECOPAS Work Programme. Through a wide repertoire of encounters, events, reviews and reports, relationships between Europe and the Pacific have been opened, built and developed in the broadest possible sense throughout the project period.
Activities across the project’s Work Packages (WPs) include the stock-taking and open-access provision of existing research on climate change and key societal dimensions in the Pacific, the provision of new channels for dialogue between scholarship and policy-making, and efforts towards building a long-term research agenda for the future. In 2015 a massive dissemination effort directed at European audiences and decision-makers was implemented by the tour to Norway, the UK, Denmark and Brussels of the ECOPAS climate change stage drama ‘Moana: the Rising of the Sea’, which coincided with the organisation by ECOPAS of the largest gathering of Pacific scholars ever in Brussels for the 10th conference of the European Society for Oceanists.
In WP1, project management has been implemented by the Coordinator and the Management Team with the required repertoire of contracts, agreements, procedural manuals, reporting and logistics for scheduled events across the project period, and management has been complemented by a strong interdisciplinary research agenda on Pacific climate change funded by the host institution.
WP2 has created and implemented online resources for project management, internal communication and external dissemination through a project website and other channels, including the provision of the world’s largest online database of research expertise on the Pacific region, with more than 600 researcher profiles and indexes covering about 40,000 books. The database gives unprecedented access to research expertise and results and other documentation resources covering the Pacific in terms of geography, environment, politics and cultural diversity.
WP3 has, through a well-orchestrated series of events and presences at policy-making arenas, implemented a range of new channels of access for policy makers in the EU and the Pacific to recent research results and political initiatives. Reviews of academic and policy literatures have supported the nexus of research, policy and Pacific context. The resultant analysis of scholarly disciplines, EU policy instruments and Pacific concerns has facilitated new flows of knowledge for decision making.
WP4 has, through its location at a region-wide Pacific university, created new pan-Pacific fields of dialogue and developed a platform of Pacific Islands institutions in research and higher education for documentation, knowledge exchange, capacity building and awareness building with reference to the broad cultural, social and political aspects of climate change. This was further strengthened by the integration of the performing arts in the drama production ‘Moana: The Rising of the Sea’ as part of the Work Programme, and by the massive conference effort in Fiji in 2013 of gathering a unique diversity of Pacific voices united in their focus on the human dimension of climate change.
Working from the vantage point of the Pacific’s largest nation, WP5 has attained a similar role in Papua New Guinea with an emphasis on state and non-state stakeholders, and has engaged in innovative network efforts with WP4, connecting Papua New Guinea with the wider Pacific. Finally, WP6 planned and implemented the 2015 ECOPAS-funded conference of the European Society for Oceanists in Brussels, providing for an entirely new level European-Pacific interaction.
WP7 has monitored work progress for a cumulative delivery to the European Commission, the European Parliament and other EU decision-makers of a comprehensive research agenda for the challenges faced by the Pacific Islands.
Building on cooperative linkages already in place prior to the ECOPAS project, channels of intra-project communications have been flowing smoothly throughout the project period, and unique new forms of collaborative research and policy connections have been developed. Given the geographical extent of the project network, activities have been taking place across up to 12 time zones, which would have been logistically challenging for partners not already used to Europe-Pacific cooperation. ECOPAS provides unmatched Europe-Pacific and north-south cooperation in its fields of scholarly interest and policy contributions.
The project will have lasting effects on the ways in which research is undertaken in the social sciences and humanities and beyond in the Pacific, and on the efficacy of development efforts in and for the region. The linkages developed between research networks and policy interfaces will ultimately contribute to more context-sensitive EU external action, and will set a future research agenda for social science and humanities in the Pacific.
Tangential to the core ECOPAS concept of making ‘Pacific Connections’ has been a specific task external to the work programme. In 2014 ECOPAS, through WPs 1 and 3, submitted to the European Parliament’s Committee on Development a comprehensive review and study, with recommen-dations, of the European Union’s development strategy for the Pacific. This study ultimately involved the entire Consortium and resulted in the development ahead of time of key guiding principles for the Research Agenda that is one of the project’s key results.
Ambitions for future research and deepened societal impact in Europe and the Pacific are also founded in the strong and enduring connection between ECOPAS and ESfO, the European Society for Oceanists. ESfO is a network association that organises a large number of Pacific-oriented scholars, mainly in Europe, but with substantial participation from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and North America.
The ECOPAS project’s high-profile launch took place at the 9th ESfO conference held in Bergen, Norway in December 2012 under the auspices of the ECOPAS coordinating institution, and the ECOPAS capstone event was the 10th ESfO conference in Brussels in June 2015. This event, carefully timed with the rest of the ECOPAS Work Programme, provided a platform for the closest possible dialogue between research and policy-making, and saw a massive presence of Pacific scholars and policy-makers from diverse national, regional and international organisations, including the European Commission and Pacific regional organisations and diplomats.
Many of these diverse representatives have in fact been drawn into close and regular interaction with the ECOPAS network of research and knowledge exchange already, as the Work Programme has developed.
The fundamental societal impact of ECOPAS has been that of conveying and empowering Pacific voices, perspectives and ambitions on a sustainable future for the peoples of the region. As exemplified in the development by ECOPAS of a high-profile, world-class Pacific drama production on climate change that toured Europe in 2015, the project has had the ability to launch new and unexpected channels for the Pacific to communicate its own views, and for the European Union and other major world powers who engage closely with the Pacific to listen, understand and respond. ECOPAS has facilitated closer, mutually understanding and respectful relationships between Europe and the Pacific, in a time when the Pacific experiences unprecedented global challenges particularly in the field of climate change.

Also Attached in PDF document ECOPAS FINAL REPORT 32098

Project Results:
ECOPAS – European Consortium for Pacific Studies
FP7 Grant No 32098
Final Report

The ECOPAS project is a Coordination and Support Action, funded not for the implementation of research itself, but for building added value to research and policy through the coordination and networking of experts, projects, programmes and policies. With a strong Consortium of six institutional Participants, comprising Europe’s four leading centres of Pacific studies, as well as the Pacific Islands region’s leading research university and Papua New Guinea’s most prominent policy think-tank, the ambitious plans of the ECOPAS Work Programme has given a wealth of results which are reported on in the following sections. It is notable that in all of the results and achievements reported on below, there has been considerable interaction across Work Packages, with strong additional contributions from the Consortium Participants’ own institutions. In the following account, responsibilities and contributions of each specific Work Package (WP) are stated as and where appropriate and – if needed – specified as per Deliverable, but on the general level each and every implementation of Tasks, and achievement of Objectives, involved activities across the Consortium. It is a noteworthy fact that this relatively compact Consortium is built on six participating institutions which had developed long-term collaboration well ahead of the ECOPAS project, and so the FP7 grant for a Coordination and Support Action provided an extraordinary set of opportunities to lift, expand and intensify existing relationships, and to direct this intense 3-year momentum towards building innovative new channels for research-based policy advice and awareness. The management of the Consortium has been accounted for in detail in the two periodic reports, and the summary description of the project, its context and Objectives has been given above. Now is the time to describe the end results in the broadest possible manner.

An overview of headings for the cumulative description of results that follows serves to highlight the concrete nature of achievements and results and to demonstrate their interdependencies.


Since the ECOPAS project began in late 2012, WP3 has interacted with every EU and EC unit with a Pacific remit, especially with EEAS, DEVCO and CLIMA, and has visited each of the EU Delegations in the region. Alongside introducing the project's work and scope, and the Pacific expertise within the ECOPAS network, we have worked to gain an insight into the procedures and responsibilities of respective EU system units in order to identify points of contact with policy makers and entry points for social science research.

The expectation built into the description of work and specific tasks at the start of this project was that WP3 would serve as a point of contact and research policy portal for both the developing ECOPAS network and for EU system personnel and mediate and matchmake between requests for research expertise and inputs to policy. This role was the means to discuss the parameters and to develop the pathways to support knowledge exchanges and to also create an EU system user-group for the database of expertise being developed by WP2.

A key part of this knowledge exchange strategy was the innovative and coordinated series of PBW workshops across Europe (serving dual functions of SSH networking events and providing research focus on a defined issue) and follow-up Pacific Connections policy round tables in Brussels (dialogue between European and Pacific SSH researchers, EU officers, PACP and NGOs). Whilst the details and outcomes of these events are documented in D3.313 D3.321 D3.322 and D3.332 we provide here an outline of the strategy and reflections on its development, on the lessons learned, and on its impact and success. Knowledge exchange is clearly a two-way relationship, and as much as we needed to inform and convey what social science research expertise has to say about the Pacific region, we have also needed to educate ourselves about the EU policy context and how the EU-Pacific partnership operates in practice.

During the initial stages of the project and discussion with EU and EC personnel, we began the considerable task of understanding the bureaucratic parameters, policy frameworks, political instruments and regional actors that underpin EU-Pacific development cooperation. This has been no small job, but has proceeded step wise over the life of the project to generate an overview of relevant structures and policy frameworks, together with an insight into the motivations and the tasks of EU system actors. Having arisen through an EEAS and DG RTD initiative, the ECOPAS project and WP3 in particular has worked most closely with these units. EEAS has been amongst the most active in making requests for advice and expert inputs to a range of issues, alongside being receptive to our contributions on a number of discrete issues as well as the longer term characteristics of EU-Pacific relations. EEAS has supported WP3's work through numerous meetings and discussions, and has hosted the Pacific Connections series of policy roundtables. EEAS Pacific desk officers attended two ECOPAS events in St. Andrews in 2013, and were invited to join other problem based workshops held in Nijmegen, Marseille and St Andrews. Clearly, EEAS held expectations that our expertise extended beyond local level detail and up to national, regional and international level politics, and we have drawn upon or developed this knowledge and expertise as necessary.

Following an initial introduction to an inter-agency Friends of the Pacific group, we followed up with meetings, discussions, workshops and policy roundtables in conjunction with DG's CLIMA, DEVCO, ENV and MARE. These interactions required separate understandings of specific issues relating to the Pacific and to particular policy challenges faced by the EU system, and was developed through initial personal contact and widened to involve expertise in the ECOPAS network as necessary. At EU Delegation level, we developed a contact network in the various offices (established face to face and continued electronically), and at regional events (such as SIDS and JPA EU-ACP in 2014), and worked to understand the procedures and divisions of labour involved in cooperation between EEAS and DEVCO – both within the EUD and between Brussels and the Delegation. These interactions, and the specific political and development cooperation instruments through which they operate, create particular dynamics for decision making and afford specific entry points (whether limited or more extensive) for social science research expertise.

At the highest level, this task has involved, for example, understanding the agreements under which the EU's partnerships with PACP countries and with PIFS operate, and at a time when both the EU and ACP were reviewing the existing partnership and looking ahead to the post-2020 successor to the Cotonou Agreement, and at a time when the PIF was reviewing the Pacific Plan and implementing a successor Framework. We have engaged with the 2006 strategy document on the EU-Pacific partnership, responded to consultation over the 2012 renewal document, and advised in various ways about the characteristics of the path ahead (not least through the separate EP DEVE Committee report).

Alongside the EU Delegation in the region, we have also engaged regional bodies such as the PIF, SPC, MSG and SPREP amongst other CROP agencies, and engaged national bodies and EU-facing actors in governments in, for example, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. For this aspect of WP3 tasks, we have needed to develop a fuller understanding of actors and geopolitics at the regional and international levels, and to keep up to date with unfolding developments on an ongoing basis. Alongside personal exchanges, meetings and discussions, WP3's involvements in these research policy knowledge exchanges has extended in written form to contributions through issue-specific briefing papers and short reports, and to longer reports on development strategy and on gender inequality, for example.

As discussed, the initial WP3 description of work envisioned a schedule of tasks geared to a particular interactive and proactive model of knowledge exchange, in which EU system actors would have various means (including closed online discussion, video conferencing, and phone briefings) of contacting a wider network of researchers. It became clear early on that effective knowledge exchanges were being channelled through one on one relations, with WP3 as a primary point of contact. Rather than being put in touch with, or having contact established with, a wider group of researchers the basis for these knowledge exchange relations has been reliant on relations through which personal knowledge and trust are developed.

So instead of WP3 putting EU system actors in touch with a wider network of researchers, the basis for knowledge exchanges has been for specific requests to be lodged with us and for us in turn to source the expertise and evidence and to feed this back. Clearly, the nature of research-policy interactions throughout the EU system has relied upon, been carried by and constrained to, relations with known persons rather than with anonymous researchers either individually or as a group. As such, certain of the measures and platforms initially envisioned as supports for knowledge exchange were superseded by the development and reliance of inter-personal contacts with WP3. Whilst this has served an important purpose for the wider ECOPAS project and has served as a vehicle for WP3 to embark on the long and steep learning curve to acquire the necessary knowledge and insights into the EU system, it has also served as a means to achieve the primary objective of creating the pathways and a user group by which on-going and future knowledge exchanges can take place.

Clearly, the expertise database developed by WP2 provides important support and independent access to the ECOPAS network and expertise, but it is equally clear that EU system actors will continue to access the network and expertise through inter-personal relationships. This touches on the further point that our initial expectations assumed that EU system actors would both be proactive in using the opportunities and portals for knowledge exchange with ECOPAS researchers and expertise, and also that they would be able to absorb, translate and implement research evidence in their own policy making contexts. These expectations and assumptions have not been borne out, however, partly due to the work load demands and constraints that EU system actors operate under, partly due to issues of scale and relevance in application between ethnographic evidence from a local level and a specific policy requirement, partly due to the assumptions and paradigms built into EU policies and procedures, and partly due to having neither time nor scholarly ability to appreciate research evidence in long and complex published academic texts. Of course, this was the rationale for creating WP3 and for its central role in the wider ECOPAS project.


A series of ‘Pacific Connections’ policy roundtables in Brussels were organised by WP3 and hosted by the European External Action Services. As detailed in D3.331 WP3 has contributed to associated policy initiatives and dialogues throughout the project. Primarily focused on knowledge-exchanges between SSH research and EU policymakers, WP3 has taken a lead in making contact with various EU and EC units with a view to elaborating the scope of the ECOPAS project, and to understand the frameworks for EU-Pacific relations, and requirements and opportunities for social science input into policy-making mechanisms.

Both researchers and policy makers in Europe are very new to these ideas of knowledge-exchange and are still in the early stages of learning the ropes. Evidently, the EU appreciates that it is not the biggest donor or influence in the region, and is focussing on defining a special niche that advances European values. Alongside work to understand the wider EU context and operating processes, and tailoring ourselves to these procedures, we have developed the Pacific Connections policy roundtables as a method whereby research evidence is presented in detail, and as far as possible in vernacular concepts, as a constructive engagement and foil to translating research into policy terms that can risk important losses. Similarly, we are learning the ways and means for providing input, advice and constructive criticism of existing policy, and developing ways to outline possible alternative approaches. Pacific Connections policy roundtables then, created a space in which SSH researchers, Pacific diplomats and EU and EC policy-makers can engage in detailed discussions around particular issues in both a micro and macro context as a means of verifying the applicability of research findings to policy-making for the Pacific context.

The initial Pacific Connections event was presented in the form of an introduction to ECOPAS and the value of SSH perspectives. Each subsequent event focused on a key issue emerging from the nexus of EU policy, SSH research and the Pacific context. This was achieved by bringing together a broad range of research and Pacific Islanders’ perspectives which were reported during events in Brussels, hosted
by EEAS. The issues defining the subjects of ‘Pacific Connections’ events included sustainable development in the Pacific; the need to rethink gender in the Pacific context; policy coherence issues; links between climate change and security, stability, and conflict prevention, as well as between climate change and migration, governance, access to resources and economic development. These issues were addressed in thematic events; the first of which focused on Sustainability in the Pacific; the second on, issues concerning gender and gender policy; the third addressed the Social Consequences of Climate Change; while the fourth concerned the question of maritime resources, interests and the future of Pacific Fisheries.

Finally, and in collaboration with consortium partners, WP3 is tasked with making recommendations for a sustainable framework of knowledge exchange interfaces to meet future requirements - our reflections on the relations and pathways that have been developed are described in D3.331. Following the list of Pacific Connections policy roundtables, the documentation below provides the event themes:

• Restoring the Human to Climate Change in the Pacific, 20th March 2013, European Parliament, Brussels
• Pacific Sustainability, 30th May 2013, EEAS Building, Brussels
• Re-thinking Gender in the Pacific, 30th May 2013, EEAS Building, Brussels
• Social impacts of Climate Change in the Pacific, 11th April 2014, EEAS Building, Brussels
• What future for Fisheries in the Pacific?, 15th October 2014, EEAS Building, Brussels
• Future EU-Pacific Connections, 27th June 2015, ESfO 2015 Conference, Brussels


Through the duration of the project’s Work Programme, the ECOPAS WP1 Coordinator Team has made arrangements for a continuing series of high-level meetings in Brussels, the United States, Australia and the Pacific. Discussions have been held, and successively developed, with Pacific and European diplomats, European Commission officials, European parliamentarians, and representatives of Pacific intergovernmental agencies and NGOs. A main topical focus has been climate change, while a major ambition has been developing such high-level dialogue for identifying agendas on a more general level for future research in and on the Pacific, both from a European perspective and from an ambition to reconceptualise Europe-Pacific relationships in Pacific terms. These global efforts by the Coordinator Team, oriented towards the objectives for WP7 and on many occasions assisted by the Coordinator’s personal Pacific networks, have in this sense been complementary to the tightly organised Brussels- and Europe-focused programme under WP3 of sequenced problem-based workshops and Pacific Connections roundtables. Deliverable D.7.711 reports on the range of a total of 12 high-level meetings organised under WP1-7, and as such forms an expansion to the detailed reporting of programmed workshops and roundtables under WP3. The meetings have involved the ambition to further elaborate and develop future research agendas to be logically followed up from the recent and present collective ECOPAS effort. Impact-wise this particular series of meetings contributed to expanding the well-developed Europe-Pacific channels of ECOPAS to include other core centres of Pacific politics and policy making: the New York offices of the United Nations, the northern-central Pacific hub of Honolulu, and the Australian capital Canberra.

11-12 February 2013, New York (UN): Roundtable with Pacific Islands diplomats at the United Nations and meeting with Head of UNDP Pacific. Upon invitation from HE Collin Beck, Ambassador of Solomon Islands to the United Nations, the ECOPAS Coordinator and Coordinator Team Administrator Ms Torgersen had a half-day meeting at the Solomon Islands UN Delegation with ambassadors and other senior diplomats from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia, and Tonga. Preparatory dialogue between HE Beck and the ECOPAS Coordinator was held on 11 February, as the Coordinator Team arrived in New York from conference attendance elsewhere in the United States. The Coordinator Team presented the Work Programme and received well-informed advice and suggestions on collaboration between ECOPAS and Pacific Islands diplomatic missions. The roles of the EU as a development donor and cooperation partner in the Pacific Islands region, and the potentials of ECOPAS to build information channels and provide advice in both directions, were discussed. Special attention was given to the role of AOSIS (the Association of Small Island States) currently in meetings at the UN. Later in the day a presentation of ECOPAS and the project’s resources was given to Mr. Knut Østby, UNDP Resident Representative in Fiji and Head of UN Operations for the Pacific Islands.

5 December 2013, Suva, Fiji: Meeting at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific. On the occasion of the first ECOPAS conference at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, the Coordinator Team (Hviding and Torgersen) had a meeting with senior diplomatic staff at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific. In focus were current patterns of Europe-Pacific cooperation (under external evaluation at the time) and what was seen by Delegation staff as a lack of research-based analysis on the actual needs of Pacific Island nations – such as a shortage of data on the human dimension of climate change, including the relationship between climate change and migration. Delegation staff also suggested channels for dissemination and research-based recommendations from ECOPAS.

January 2014, Brussels: ECOPAS participation at EEAS meeting of DG representatives in Pacific cooperation. Upon invitation from the EEAS Pacific Division, the ECOPAS Coordinator and Ms. Camilla Borrevik of the Coordinator Team participated as observers in a dialogue meeting of 28 DG representatives of EU-Pacific development cooperation. In focus were regional EDF cooperation and country-specific sector priorities. Separate discussions were held between EEAS and ECOPAS on recent EU and Pacific reviews and EU interactions with Pacific regional organizations. Ambitions and perspectives for the upcoming commissioned ECOPAS study for the European Parliament were analysed.

7 April 2014, Brussels: Presentation to the European Parliament of ECOPAS study on Europe-Pacific relationships. The ECOPAS Study Team for the review of EU development strategy in the Pacific, commissioned by the European Parliament, presented the completed study to the EP’s Committee on Development. The study goes a long way towards specifying the details of a future research agenda for the Pacific as seen from a joint European-Pacific perspective, and a brief version of this agenda was published as ECOPAS Policy Brief No. 2. The presentation by ECOPAS was chaired by Madame Eva Joly, Chair of the Committee on Development, and included a comment on EU-Pacific cooperation from the EEAS and a Q&A session for parliamentarians. Presentations for the ECOPAS study team were held by Professor Edvard Hviding (WP1-7) and Dr. Tony Crook (WP3), with a comment on EU development cooperation in the Pacific by ECOPAS associate expert Mr. Fe’iloakitau Kaho Tevi of the IUCN and the PIDF, Fiji. The presentation was followed by invited attendance to a reception, during which the ECOPAS delegation had discussions with parliamentarians and staff.

5 June 2014, Brussels: ECOPAS state-of-the art presentation on Europe-Pacific relations, to ‘Research Meets Diplomacy’ conference. The ECOPAS Coordinator was invited by DG-RTD to give a presentation entitled ‘The Pacific as an object of study for EU research and EU-Pacific relations: state of the art and prospects’, to the one-day conference ‘Europe as a Global Actor. Research meets diplomacy – Insights from the socio-economic sciences and humanities for EU external action’. The conference was organised by the Reflective Societies (Horizon 2020 Challenge 6) unit at DG-RTD, and pursued an ambition of developing new exchanges between researchers, notably from EU-financed collaborative projects, and EU policy-makers – building on the funding by FP7’s SSH programme of a range of projects on Europe in the World. Aiming to take stock of the results of the SSH programme in terms of transition from FP7 to Horizon 2020, the conference (and the presentation commissioned from the ECOPAS Coordinator) addressed questions of what has been learned FP7 SSH projects (such as ECOPAS) in terms of policy-making and diplomacy, and what type of social scientific knowledge is needed for sound foreign policy making. The dialogue developed at this intensive one-day event had obvious bearings for the ongoing development by ECOPAS of a new Pacific-oriented research agenda.

22 July-9 August 2014, Honolulu, Hawai’i: Meetings with representatives of Pacific regional organisations and research and policy institutions. The ECOPAS coordinator Edvard Hviding was a visiting professor at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UHM), 23 July-9 August. The Work Programme was presented to the UHM’s Center for Pacific Islands Studies, the Coordinator Team had operational meetings (Ms. Torgersen was on fieldwork in Hawai’i throughout 2014), and the Coordinator worked with Professor Vilsoni Hereniko of UHM to plan the 2015 European Tour of the ECOPAS drama performance Moana: the Rising of the Sea. Given Honolulu’s role as a crossroads of Pacific travel, a series of meetings were held with key Pacific policy makers transiting through Honolulu, including the CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, and Pacific policy officials in summer residence at the East-West Center think-tank. Further refinements of WP7 priorities for developing a Pacific-Europe research agenda were attained.

1-4 September 2014, Apia, Samoa: ECOPAS participation at the Third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States: The third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States was held in Apia, Samoa, 1-4 September. The conference theme was ‘the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through genuine and durable partnerships’, and included six multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues, held in parallel with the plenary meetings. ECOPAS was formally accredited to the conference, the delegation consisting of Dr. Tony Crook (WP3) and Ms. Camilla Borrevik (WP1), while Professor Elisabeth Holland of the USP and other WP4 representatives were active panel organisers and discussants. The massive opening ceremony of the SIDS conference was choreographed by WP4 participant (and key artist in our Moana drama) Tuilagi Seiuli Allan Alo. The Coordinator Team’s representative Ms. Borrevik made use of her work experience from international diplomacy and interacted widely with Pacific and European (including Norwegian) delegates and representatives of regional and global organisations, in order to test the ground widely for emergent research agenda proposals from ECOPAS.

December 2014, New York (UN): Second ECOPAS Roundtable with Pacific Islands diplomats at the United Nations. En route to an anthropological conference in Washington DC, the ECOPAS Coordinator followed up a standing invitation from the Pacific diplomatic missions at the UN to re-visit and follow up discussion and plans from the first meeting in 2013. Although several ambassadors were at the COP20 meetings in Lima, Peru, a large gathering of diplomats met with the ECOPAS Coordinator. Once again the meeting was kindly hosted by the Solomon Islands delegation to the UN, by the Counsellor Helen Beck. Present at the meeting were ambassadors and senior diplomats from Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Marshall Island and Tuvalu. The ECOPAS study for the European Parliament on EU development strategies for the Pacific was distributed, presented and discussed in depth. The predicaments, challenges and roles of Small Island Developing States in terms of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Agenda were discussed with reference to urgent research needs, and the suggestion was made that ECOPAS might take responsibility for forming triangular connections of research-based information between the Pacific, New York (UN) and Brussels (EU). After a brief but spirited exchange on international roles to be played by the creative arts of the Pacific, the DVD of the ECOPAS climate change drama Moana: the Rising of the Sea was screened to all, and DVDs were distributed.

13 March 2015, Suva, Fiji: Meeting at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific. The ECOPAS Coordinator travelled to Suva for a week’s work at the University of the South Pacific’s Oceania Centre to prepare for the upcoming European Tour of Moana: the Rising of the Sea. Opportunity was taken for a follow-up meeting at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific. HE Ambassador Andrew Jacobs was met with in the company of USP Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Bythell and the artistic directors of the Oceania Centre Mr. Peter Espiritu and Mr. Igelese Ete. Prospects were explored for longer-term research cooperation between the USP and other partners in the ECOPAS project, in terms of new approaches to understanding and developing Europe-Pacific relationships, including the performing arts. The Ambassador was briefed on recent and upcoming elements of the ECOPAS Work Programme, as well as the tangential DG-DEVCO/WP3 field study on gender inequality in 10 Pacific Island countries.

16 March 2015, Canberra, Australia: Meeting with Pacific and Nordic diplomats at the Papua New Guinea High Commission to Australia. Following the week in Suva, the ECOPAS Coordinator travelled to Canberra on invitation from the Australian National University. A lunch with Pacific and Nordic diplomats (of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Norway and Finland) was kindly hosted for the ECOPAS Coordinator by HE Charles Lepani, High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea to Australia. Current and future research priorities concerning the Pacific were discussed, also with a view to highlighting characteristic European research approaches not tied to Australian foreign policy. Research and policy discussions were followed up with the Norwegian Ambassador HE Unni Kløvstad (18 March) and the Acting High Commissioner of Solomon Islands HE Fiona Indu (19 March).

16-19 March 2015, Canberra, Australia: Australian National University – meetings with research communities, NGOs and parliamentarians. The ECOPAS Coordinator was kindly invited to the Australian National University to give a public lecture and a master class to PhD students, and to have meetings with research institutes, representatives of government and NGOs and Australian parliamentarians. Meetings were held with ANU’s Pacific Institute and with representatives of the PACE-Net project, the CSIRO research organisation, the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science Adaptation Planning program (PACCSAP), and climate change NGOs. Advice on Pacific matters of climate change and governance was given in a special meeting with Labour MPs at the Australian Parliament. This whirlwind visit to Canberra provided a wealth of additional insights into the Australia-Pacific connection and into outside perspectives on Europe-Pacific cooperation.

19 November 2015, Suva, Fiji: Meeting at the European Union delegation for the Pacific. On a return visit to the University of the South Pacific to follow up final stages of the Work Programme and to meet with the USP’s academic leadership for discussions on long-term collaboration, the ECOPAS Coordinator had a meeting with the EU chargé d’affaires Mr. Johnny Engell-Hansen and his communications staff. In focus were a follow-up of the successful 18 November world premiere (sponsored by the EU Delegation) of the film version of the Moana performance from the European Tour, and an exploration of scenarios for future research. Large questions were discussed concerning the dyna-mics of local, national and regional decision-making in the Pacific, beyond classic diplomacy. Interesting scenarios for EU-funded Europe-Pacific cooperation in higher education were explored.


POLICY BRIEF 1 / Restoring the Human to Climate Change in Oceania: Voices and Perspectives from the Pacific: The European Consortium of Pacific Studies (ECOPAS) is a network project funded by the European Union through its Seventh Framework programme, and is dedicated to creating new channels for research-based social science and humanities knowledge and engagements with policy making at the Pacific-EU interface. The ECOPAS Consortium includes two Pacific and four European partner institutions of research and higher learning. The six project partners have a collective agenda of developing new forms of knowledge exchange to address the challenges faced by the Pacific Islands region and its inhabitants in the face of global climate change. In December 2013, ECOPAS arranged a major conference, Restoring the Human to Climate Change in Oceania, at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. This Policy Brief conveys some of the messages from that conference, in order to give glimpses of what the people of the Pacific themselves think about climate change right now. We argue that the perspectives presented here have implications for policy, not least concerning EU-Pacific relations, and provide the following recommendations:

• ECOPAS recommends that greater attention is given to the human dimensions of climate change in the Pacific Islands and globally. The Pacific can provide particularly powerful examples of this.
• At the frontline of global climate change, the people of the Pacific have strong feelings about their predicament, but also many creative responses. Pacific Islanders should therefore be listened to closely in global climate change debates.
• Educational policy should seek integration between the models of climate change developed by science and in the local knowledge of Pacific Islanders.
• The social sciences and humanities, including the performative arts, have a long and vibrant record in the Pacific, and are well placed to suggest new connections between climate science and the knowledges of Pacific peoples.
• It is recommended that closer dialogues between policy-making and these agendas of research are developed. The ECOPAS conference from which this Policy Brief has been built provides some examples of how such dialogue may be achieved.

POLICY BRIEF 2 / Re-Thinking Europe-Pacific Relationships in Development Cooperation: The European Union is the second largest donor of development assistance to the Pacific Islands region. The EU’s interests and activities in the Pacific are highly significant and hold important potential for future cooperation. The Pacific Islands region, often referred to as Oceania, represents a globally unique diversity of languages, cultures and state formations, extending for thousands of kilometres in the tropical zones on both sides of the equator. Small and large groups of islands constitute culturally distinct nations with populations ranging from a few thousand (e.g. Tuvalu, Tokelau, Niue) to several million (Papua New Guinea). The Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian peoples of the Pacific represent the world’s largest linguistic diversity: nearly 25%, or of the world’s 6000 languages are spoken in the region. Culturally, politically and economically there is immense diversity among the islands and archipelagos, with marked differences apparent even within states. In line with this, development contexts and cooperative partnerships in the Pacific region are uneven, multi- layered and challenging. Pacific people’s livelihoods are intimately connected to globally significant terrestrial and oceanic natural resources, and are increasingly under pressure. Collective interests in the Pacific create a development context in which local concerns ultimately take priority.

The commissioned study EU Development Strategy in the Pacific conducted for the European Parliament’s Committee on Development by ECOPAS analysed the current and future contexts for EU-Pacific relations. The study proposed a series of policy recommendations providing a basis for action by the European Parliament. Essential elements of that study and its recommendations are summarised and presented here in brief form for wider dissemination among policy makers.

• The critiques and issues discussed above are the key points to consider in terms of how the EU conducts its development partnerships and its external actions, and how it responds to calls to engage in new relations.
• The key issue for rethinking EU-Pacific relationships is to better understand and respond to critiques of donor-led and ‘top-down’ development, that is, to examine the ways in which decisions are made, and the kinds of decisions that are made, and to consider whether the current process is able to design and deliver projects that are appropriate and workable at the local level of development ownership.
• Effective cooperation between EEAS, DG DEVCO and the PACPs to identify and implement projects is crucial. A fuller analysis of working practices both in Brussels and in the Pacific delegations is required. Outline proposals for a ‘Pacific House’ venue in Brussels should be re-assessed to deepen EU-Pacific relations.
• Rising to the challenge of re-imagining EU-Pacific relations will require a good deal of work and reflection. The Pacific clearly constitutes a geopolitical context whose importance is markedly set to grow in significance, and there is a clear rationale for the EU to commit further resources to support its interests and activities in the region. In particular, the EU should enhance and deepen its institutional knowledge and means of drawing upon existing expertise on ‘Pacific Ways’.
• The European Union’s development strategy for the Pacific must take climate change, and the local and regional perceptions of problems and solutions to climate challenges, as central concerns.

POLICY BRIEF 3 / Report from Funafuti: Messages from Tuvalu and Kiribati about Climate Change, Migration and Global Responsibilities: At a press conference in Funafuti, Tuvalu on 2 October 2015, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga and the President of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong, affirmed in solidarity that both countries, with other Pacific nations affected by climate change, would work together to find solutions to the issues of climate change they will be facing during the COP21 in Paris, December 2015. The press conference was conducted to commemorate Tuvalu’s 37th Independence Anniversary, with the President of Kiribati as the Guest of Honour. President Tong urged the people of Tuvalu that the Independence celebrations should be carried on continuously in coming years, decades and millennia, and that in order to do that Tuvalu, Kiribati and other Pacific nations must continue to tell the world their stories of climate change and its effects on their islands and people, working together to find solutions. ECOPAS researcher Dr. Tammy Tabe (University of Bergen, WP1) attended, and in this Policy Brief reports from, the press conference. The joint voices of these two Pacific state leaders articulate in more general terms the need for Pacific Islands and the global community to work together to address issues of climate change, on national and international levels. This has implications for policy-making and generate recommendations to strengthen the relationships between the Pacific Islands and the global community, not least the European Union.

• As one of the most vulnerable regions threatened by climate change, the Pacific Islands should be given greater attention and support by global and regional bodies in their fight and advocacy for the reduction of global carbon emissions.
• The European Union should work closely with Pacific Island leaders to implement effective policies and find solutions to address and minimize effects of climate change affecting their islands and people, given that most of these issues are interrelated and occur similarly across the Pacific. This should also strengthen the EU-Pacific relations and the better understanding of the issues encountered and how they can be best addressed.
• The United Nations Framework on Refugees should take into consideration the future predicaments of island states due to climate change and implement regimes that allow the relocation of environmental refugees, especially those who are greatly affected but have the capacity and means to support themselves abroad.
• Pacific Islands nations should be provided the mechanisms and external financial support to address issues of climate change faced in their countries, and to allow them to prepare physically and mentally if the need to relocate populations arises.


Deliverable D4.412 reports in detail on that part of the ECOPAS Work Programme that was intended to develop, on the basis of the long-standing Vanuatu Cultural Centre Model, some initiatives of local cultural resource documentation and management, focused – with reference to the Work Programme thematic orientation – on environment, land, sea, sustainable development and climate change. For unforeseen political reasons at the national level of Vanuatu it was not feasible, even after close consultations at the first ECOPAS conference in Suva, Fiji, December 2013, to obtain the involvement of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre. The work reported here, therefore, concerns Fiji, Solomon Islands, and the Marshall Islands, and gives a detailed presentation of three separate efforts implemented by Participant 4, The University of the South Pacific, in cooperation with Participant 1, the University of Bergen, as well as with the Solomon Islands National Museum. The activities exemplify priorities for research, training and competence building, with the concrete implementation of two separate rural fieldworkers’ programmes – one in the Langalanga Lagoon of Solomon Islands, and one in the Fijian island of Gau. For added comparative significance the Solomon Islands project is oriented towards historical documentation, while the Fiji project is developing future scenarios for climate change adaptation. Both initiatives are deemed to entail regionally useful lessons and models. The third initiative, in the Marshall Islands, is a fact-finding mission by the University of the South Pacific to examine research and training needs for sustainable transport (a high regional priority) and sustainable development in remote atoll islands. The materials reported here contain a diverse wealth of background information on research, training and competence building as seen in the context of present-day challenges for sustainable rural life in the Pacific Islands. Additional work by University of Bergen (Participant 1) graduate students in Fiji, Samoa and the Marshall Islands under WP4 guidance has expanded the available background – these materials are available from ECOPAS Bergen. Major attention in WP4 was given to the outreach, through the USP’s Pacific-wide institutional system, of models for local-level documentation of climate change and related challenges. This work has succeeded in designing a repertoire of pan-Pacific institutional models for creating lines of communication between different state levels such as local government and central government, and knowledge transfer between university research and higher education and programmes for local awareness.

The model of local ‘fieldworkers’ in Vanuatu functioned for three decades until 2014 as a gem of Pacific state organization. The fieldworker network of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre was recognised throughout the region and the world as a model of grassroots cultural resource management, continually being enhanced through skills and experience gained by fieldworkers at annual work-shops. Products from this network as it functioned until temporary closure in 2014 (when long-standing Australian funding was withdrawn) included vernacular language dictionaries, general publications on aspects of traditional culture, extensive data on historic sites useful for future preservation purposes, and thousands of hours of recorded oral traditions and video-recorded events. Under the established cooperation in WP4 with the USP, the original intention was that the Vanuatu Cultural Centre and the Solomon Islands National Museum the Consortium would apply this model to selected locations in the wider Pacific. However, just when this model of Pacific cooperation was to be implemented, the Vanuatu component was unfortunately withdrawn (and modest ECOPAS funding could not reinstate it, nor was such an initiative politically feasible at the time). Nevertheless it was decided to implement a range of related efforts without the Vanuatu partner; the Solomon Islands National Museum being the logical institutional partner for what amounted to an ambitious pilot project closely approximating the Vanuatu model but focussing on a particularly interesting human adaptation to volatile social and ecological environments: the so-called artificial islands of the Langalanga Lagoon in Malaita Province. With WP4 leader Joeli Veitayaki and the participation of WP1 PhD candidate Camilla Borrevik, an elaborate arrangement was made to test out key aspects of the Vanuatu model in the Langalanga Lagoon area in October-December 2014, with the Solomon Islands National Museum as institutional base and Director Tony Heorake as project manager.

Simultaneously and throughout P2, WP4 leader Veitayaki refined his own model for rural engagement in the response to climate change related challenges, by testing out a wide range of initiatives for what amounts to ‘climate change proofing’ of the substantial Fijian island of Gau – a first-ever example for the Pacific, geared to work with the local people to prepare for climate change as they pursue their own sustainable development aspirations. In Fiji, villagers own the natural resources which they now aim to develop to help them realise their development aspirations. These environmental resources also provide the main sources of sustenance that the people need to maintain if the poverty that is rampant in many of the developing countries of the world is to be avoided in the small islands in the Pacific. Veitayaki’s pilot project aims to make Gau Island (his own place of birth) a place where the people follow resource-use arrangements that are part of their appropriately developed villages and island management plans. These management plans allow the villagers to make plans and decisions to improve their social and economic status while mindful of climate change requirements and sustainable development practices. This work continues under USP auspices and supervised by Dr. Veitayaki.
Third in line in the WP4 repertoire of pilot projects of rural Pacific fieldwork carried out in P2 is WP4 associate scholar Dr. Peter Nuttall’s trial visit to the Marshall Islands, to test out models for the documentation of local climate change effects in this atoll nation, with a view also to identifying actors, agents and locations for the implementation of a new programme of sustainable, low- or non-emission inter-island sea transport – another first-ever example for the Pacific. This work, too, continues under USP auspices.

The pilot projects provide a diverse wealth of background information on research, training and competence building as seen in the context of present-day challenges for sustainable rural life in the Pacific Islands. Additional work by University of Bergen (WP1) graduate students in Fiji, Samoa and Marshall Islands under WP4 guidance has expanded the available background. Dissemination of these pioneering pan-Pacific rural documentation projects have occurred through online and social media ECOPAS channels, as well as at the 2015 ESfO conference in Brussels. Meanwhile dialogue with policy-making arenas has been developed continuously by WP4 leaders and personnel, most directly on the Fiji scene where all regional development organisations as well as European interests (including the regional embassy of the European Union) are represented by headquarters and main offices.


WP 1 is coordinated by Participant 1, the Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group (BPS) at the University of Bergen, Norway (UiB) and the Project Management Team is based at the UiB Department of Social Anthropology. The Founding Director of BPS, Professor Edvard Hviding, is the Scientific Coordinator of ECOPAS. BPS is a centre of research excellence and institutional strength in its field, has long experience from the management of large-scale externally funded projects, and during 2011-2013 held the leadership of both the European Society for Oceanists (ESfO, Chair 2011-2012 Professor Knut M. Rio) and the North American Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO, Chair 2012-2013 Professor Edvard Hviding). Located at the University of Bergen’s Department of Social Anthropology, BPS has the privilege of building on the strong long-term record of Norwegian anthropology as an influential academic actor in policy-making at home and abroad, particularly in settings of north-south cooperation and development partnerships. These are important institutional strengths for the additional operation under BPS auspices of WP7. The fact that BPS, the core ECOPAS group at the coordinating institution includes several professors, five PhD candidates and a number of graduate students makes it possible to combine the responsibility for ECOPAS project management with a strong agenda of fieldwork-based research, which also adds to the strength of WP7, the other Work Package managed by the BPS. From its mother institution the University of Bergen, BPS has received strong support for the ECOPAS project as evidenced by the university’s provision of substantial administrative resources, as well as of three four-year PhD fellowships in the broadly defined research field of Pacific climate change.

In this dedicated, long-term research effort for ECOPAS, the anthropologists of BPS collaborate with climate scientists at the University of Bergen’s Bjerknes Centre for Excellence in Climate Research to develop interdisciplinary models based on Pacific materials, including new forms of analytical integration between scientific models and long-term local vernacular observations of particular phenomena in Pacific weather and climate, such as the seasonal Madden-Julian Oscillation and El Ninõ. The co-existence at the University of Bergen of ECOPAS Project Management and a strong, innovative UiB-funded agenda of interdisciplinary research on climate change in the Pacific, attached to the ECOPAS Management Team, gives maximum cross-fertilisation for the interface between management and research required for the work progress of WP7. To this can be added the UiBs funding and hosting in P2 of the ECOPAS climate change drama Moana: the Rising of the Sea as a high-profile performance at the Bergen International Festival (26 May to 7 June). This extraordinary contribution of the ECOPAS host institution provided for a subsequent ECOPAS-funded high-impact European Tour of the performance, managed by WP7. However the University of Bergen boost of core ECOPAS activities in 2015 were not limited to the Moana performance: the university funded a high-level interdisciplinary symposium entitled ‘The Rising Ocean: The Pacific Islands and Global Climate Change’ (29 May) to which speakers were invited from the ranks of climate science, Pacific studies, Pacific policy, climate change activism, performing art, and EU research policy. This provided for maximum dialogue particularly oriented towards strategies leading up to the climate change summit COP21 in Paris. Finally, it must be mentioned that right after the end of the project period, the University of Bergen, through a special grant from the Rector’s office, funded ECOPAS WP1-WP7 participation at COP21.


With a population of more than 7 million, a land area of 462,840 km2 and an environment that ranges from alpine mountains to low coral atolls, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is by far the largest and most complex nation of the Pacific. PNG’s National Research Institute (NRI), the country’s leading think tank on policy-oriented research, is ECOPAS Participant 5. An important contribution of the ECOPAS project has been the closer connection between Papua New Guinea and the ‘island Pacific’ (defined as just about any other part of the Pacific except PNG) through collaboration in research, communication and conference organisation between PNG’s NRI and the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, ECOPAS Participant 4.
To closely address some of the distinctive patterns of this largest Pacific nation, NRI was assigned to oversee the implementation of WP5 Strategies for Pacific State and Non-State Involvement with an overall focus on climate change issues and creating relations and partnerships between government, civil society, and academia. There was also an emphasis on discussing socioeconomic issues related to climate change impacts, and assessing local and national engagements with the global UN initiatives of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The project involved following and assessing the activities and strategies on climate change by state and non-state actors. NRI hosted two national level workshops. The first workshop, ‘Climate Change and REDD+: Interfacing Sustaining Development and Traditional Knowledge in PNG’, was held 8 October 2014. The second workshop, ‘Climate Change and REDD+: Building Alliances for Sustainable Resource Development in PNG’, was held 12 August 2015. Government, non-state actors, academics, policy officers, and researchers from different organisations attended both workshops. NRI also participated in several meetings led by other state agencies on policy advocacy, and participated in non-state actor activities as part of networking efforts.
Consultations throughout PNG were aimed at involving a broad range of state and non-state actors in addressing social security, sustainable development, and climate change in PNG. This focus is based on NRI being an influential policy think-tank in the country, influencing government and shaping development and growth. Thus, climate change is a cross-cutting issue that needs to be addressed with good policies and strategies to support sustained development through partnerships.
The implementation by the NRI of WP broadly achieved its milestones, and a number of key points were identified:
• Partnership: About forty-nine actors were involved in the implementation of WP5 by NRI; they were from government and non-government organisations and engagements ranged across policy and policy advocacy, projects in mitigation and adaptation, administration, and research.
• Database setup:
• A database was developed in 2013 and has since been regularly updated, also in liaison with the large-scale Pacific expertise database of WP2. It provides information about state agencies, development partners, NGOs, CBOs (community based organisations), research and academic institutions. It also captures the main roles and functions of the organisations as well as an indication of research interests and capacity throughout Papua New Guinea.
• Network of researchers - PNG and pan-Pacific: Building on the database, NRI has engaged with various organisations by sharing research and information relating to social science, humanities and climate change. Climate science researchers and academics have also been involved in discussions that further enhance our understanding of the threats and dangers of climate change. To foster further partnership, ECOPAS WP5 collaborated with WP4 (The University of the South Pacific) on the organisation of the first major ECOPAS conference in Suva in December 2013, with the participation of key PNG partners including individuals from the Office of Climate Change, the PNG Forest Authority, Partners with Melanesia, and community-based organisations.

REDD+ Activities and Project Implications
REDD+ in PNG has started off at a slow pace in terms of policy, laws and regulations (PLR). There is a clear understanding that REDD+ is an opportunity for national and community incomes and social security. The Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) wishes to implement the project as a ‘national approach’ through the Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) to coordinate all effort. However, there have been many issues raised in the absence of clear Policies, Laws and Regulations, and an implementation strategy. REDD+ involves mitigation and adaptation, with funding from government as well as development partners. NGOs and CBOs wish to see adaptation activities directly linked to communities and not through a ‘national approach’, as indicated. Such activities involve the forestry sector, resources and communities, and land ownership. Some progress has been made at national level, and many partners have organised community-based projects and carbon credit REDD+ pilots, to translate benefits for community development. NRI has involved several research institutions (e.g. University of Papua New Guinea, National Agriculture Research Institute, Forest Research Institute) in the exchange of information, and community NGOs (Partners with Melanesia) for a pilot project.

Research focal point and support for research policy interface
NRI has set up the database and embarked on research involving REDD+ in the country in order to contribute to policy at the national level. Interacting and sharing information is important to contribute to land tenure and development. As an ongoing activity, we continue to share information and advice landowners and small NGOs on climate change livelihood security.

In summary, key highlights include (1) project management was set up; (2) a database was created; (3) partnership was established with state and non-state actors through two workshops. Through the two workshops it is obvious that research, policy and implementation agendas are critical to address climate change and REDD+ projects. The NRI database indicates that there are many non-state actors doing things of their own, with no clear linkage with government agencies. Customary land owner-ship and community based development are critical issues for sustainable livelihoods in PNG. Local people and communities need to be made aware of their own land right entitlements. On this note, the NRI’s Land Development Research program (supported by National Land Development Program) builds on the activities implemented and lessons learned through the ECOPAS project to improve and increase access to customary land.


The 9th international of the European Society for Oceanists (ESfO) organised in Bergen, 5-8 December 2012 by the Bergen Pacific Studies group (host of the ECOPAS Coordinator Team), was a unique opportunity for launching the project, only a few days after its formal beginning on 1 December. The required project meetings (Kick-off and inaugural meetings of Executive Board and Scientific Advisory Board) were held immediately before the conference, while the Opening Plenary Panel itself was dedicated to presenting ECOPAS to an audience of more than 200 scholars.

The opening panel, Climate Change Challenges and European-Pacific Cooperation: Building Institutional Research Frameworks for the Future was chaired by the ECOPAS Coordinator and by the WP4 leader from the University of the South Pacific, with all six Consortium partners represented on the panel, as well as representatives from the Scientific Advisory Board and the European Commission. The panel noted how climate change reveals the power of the Pacific in ways that are obvious to social scientists: the region is prominent in international visions of rising-sea levels and an object of geopolitical attention, and the peoples are a primary source of expertise for understanding the changes to waters, forests, and climates, and for interpreting the consequences for them. Discussion focused on the potential and the challenge for social scientists to contribute to understanding climate change in the Pacific, exploring paths for building long-term research cooperation and dialogue between European and Pacific scholars and policy makers.

During the 2012 conference, several sessions were organised under ECOPAS auspices, and representatives of all six Consortium partners interacted extensively to develop and set into action the diversity of the Work Programme.


RESTORING THE HUMAN TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN OCEANIA: ECOPAS Conference, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, 6-9 December 2013.

The first ECOPAS Conference was organised to promote a diversity of stories from the Pacific Islands on how islanders are living with climate change and its accelerating effects, and to educate the world on what is at stake in the region and why it is important to be involved. A wide repertoire of presentations were organised to stimulate information sharing and exchange as well as to demonstrate the different methods that can be used to build awareness of climate change in the Pacific Islands.

To capture a wide variety of information about how Pacific Islanders are living with environmental instability and climate change, the conference was held over the weekend, so that members of the public could be engaged. It was also agreed that a range of relevant practical activities be put on show to depict how peoples’ lives are affected by changing climatic conditions. With more than 200 participants from just about all Pacific nations as well as from the European network of ECOPAS, the conference included seven plenary panels and roundtables (with a total of more than 40 presentations), two keynote addresses by distinguished speakers, a climate change film festival, a Pacific market, and a day of open public engagement through hands-on activities. The conference was opened with the world premiere of the ECOPAS performative production Moana: The Rising of the Sea, which was performed three times during the conference.

An Open Day event held on Sunday afternoon showcased the knowledge, arts and crafts, songs, dances and writings of Pacific Islanders, and offered to the public films, sand sculpture and sailing in traditional canoes. This built on efforts that had been initiated by ECOPAS-USP well before the conference started. The biggest attraction of the conference was the world premiere and three performances of Moana: the Rising of the Sea, an original ECOPAS production from the USP’s Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies.

The organisation of the ECOPAS conference was led by Professor Elisabeth Holland and her team at the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development. The organising team demonstrated the organisational abilities of Pacific Islanders. Conference participants and the many sponsors were unanimous that the conference was a huge success. Notably, the ECOPAS Consortium framework, the unique organisation of the University of the South Pacific, and the dedicated assistance of ECOPAS Participant 5, the National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea, provided for unique pan-Pacific initiatives of interdisciplinarity and multivocality – this was a major occasion of connecting the voices and concerns of Papua New Guinea with those of the island Pacific, under a shared concern of climate change.

The voices of representatives of government, academia, NGOs, regional organisations, performing arts and environmental activism, and students of university and high school, were combined in new and original ways, and many new connections were forged in ways that will generate new visions for how the people of the Pacific meet with the challenges of climate change. Framed by opening and closing keynotes by Hon. Minister Tony De Brum of the Marshall Islands and Dr. Philippe Keraudren from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research, and demonstrating the global power of the performative arts in startling ways, the ECOPAS conference attained a public Pacific role and opened for new relationships between research and global challenges faced by humanity.

The conference was organised by the Centre for Pacific and Asian Studies from Radboud University Nijmegen, under the auspices of the ESfO board. The conference was held in the Thon Hotel in the city centre of Brussels, the capital of Europe. It was sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the European Consortium for Pacific Studies and Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The theme of the conference – Europe and the Pacific – generated wide interest from the outset. Over the four days, the uniqueness and diversity of the Pacific region was explored, debated and celebrated. Engagements between Europe and the Pacific in past and present were discussed in a variety of dimensions, ranging from colonial relations, contemporary legal-political relations, trade relations, sustainable development programmes, humanitarian aid, new migrations patterns, and tourism, to environmental concerns and widespread anxiety about the impact of climate change. Many presentations testified to the strength of the Pacific region and the cultural creativity of Pacific peoples in developing alternative future orientations to contemporary global challenges. Participants were reminded that the problems to be addressed and the questions to be raised in the examination of the multitude of alternatives that the Pacific is offering to the global community are far from simple.

The opening ceremony of the conference was held in the Gothic Room of the old City Hall of Brussels, for which special permission was granted by the Mayor of Brussels. We welcomed 280 participants from more than 20 different countries and nations, with a significant number from the Pacific region, including Samoa, Hawai’i, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Included in the audience were also 43 delegates from Australia, 24 from New Zealand and 22 from the United States. Indeed, it might be noted that informally the conference has been described as the largest gathering ever to have taken place in the field of Pacific Studies. In any case, the conference is being remembered as a gathering in which a sizeable number of people from around the world participated, including the Pacific Islands, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

The programme also featured a total of 28 sessions running in parallel over the four days, in which a record of 250 papers were presented in relation to the overall topic addressing connections between Europe and the Pacific (see Conference booklet for a detailed overview). These presentations and discussions about them created a vibrant intellectual atmosphere that was truly stimulating for a genuine debate about the interface between research and policy.

The opening keynote address was delivered by the Head of State of the Independent State of Samoa, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta'isi Efi, one of the foremost Pacific thinkers and writers. It was his presence that attracted a large contingent of scholars from the Pacific, which stimulated the necessary dialogue between Europe and the Pacific and made the conference an exceptional event. On behalf of the European Commission, a response to His Highness’ address was delivered by Hubert Gambs, Director for Policy Development and Co-ordination in the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) of the European Union.

In the course of the conference, four plenary lectures were delivered by leading scholars in the field of Pacific studies:
1. Dr. Katerina Teaiwa (Head of Department of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, Australian National University): ‘Our Rising Sea of Islands: Hau‘ofa’s Hope and Mara’s Way in the Age of Climate Change’.
2. Dr. Emmanuel Kasarherou (Curator, Musée du Quai Branly, Paris): ‘The Sharing of Cultural Heritage between Europe and the Pacific: The Kanak Experience’.
3. Dr. Joeli Veitayaki (School of Marine Studies, University of the South Pacific): ‘Ocean in Us: Security of Life in the World’s Largest Ocean’.
4. Professor Joel Robbins (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge) delivered the Sir Raymond Firth Memorial Lecture: ‘Anthropology between Europe and the Pacific: Change, Exchange and the Prospects for a Relationship Beyond Relativism’

In the course of the four days of the conference there were two roundtable discussions:

1. A roundtable discussion with officials representing the European Union and Pacific ambassadors stationed in Brussels about future connections between Europe and the Pacific. This roundtable was chaired by dr. Tony Crook (University of St. Andrews and ECOPAS work package leader), and involved participants such as H.E. Fatumanava III Dr. Pa’olelei Luteru, Ambassador of Samoa; EEAS representative Stefan Forester; H.E. Joe Kalinoe, Ambassador of Papua New Guinea; and Pacific policy specialist Fe’iloakitau Kaho Tevi. At this roundtable, the principles and new regional initiatives emerging from recent reviews of development policies in the Pacific were discussed in conjunction with the challenges to current paradigms of development cooperation, and the concerns and priorities of the Pacific region.
2. Another roundtable discussion organised by ECOPAS concerned the interface between research and policy and the implications for improving connections between Europe and the Pacific. This panel focused on possible paths for building long-term research cooperation and dialogue between European and Pacific scholars and policy makers, with a special focus on the goal of ECOPAS to reinforce the interface between research and policy. This panel was chaired by Professor Toon van Meijl, chair of ESfO and leader of WP6 in the ECOPAS project, and featured Joeli Veitayaki (WP4), Philippe Keraudren (DG-RTD), Laurent Dousset (WP2), Margaret Jolly (Chair of the ECOPAS Scientific Advisory Board), Tony Crook (WP3) and Edvard Hviding (ECOPAS Coordinator). A plenary discussion with the entire ESfO membership concluded the roundtable, which doubled as the closing ECOPAS General Assembly Meeting.

As part of the conference two special art events were organised:

Moana: the Rising of the Sea, a show of dance, song, music and film produced by ECOPAS and the University of the South Pacific’s Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies. Written, directed and performed by Pacific Islanders, Moana is an intense declaration of love to the natures and cultures of the Pacific, and a call for the world to think and act in these challenging times for Oceania. The performance as part of the 10th ESfO conference at the Viage Theatre in Brussels on June 25th was the final show of a month-long European Tour that included Bergen, St Andrews, Copenhagen, and the European Parliament in Brussels.

During the conference, the New Zealand Māori sculptor and artist George Nuku also worked on his project Bottled Ocean 2114 in the lobby of the Thon Hotel, where he made a floating island and a canoe of plexiglass. He attempted to capture a near future scenario of the contemporary world that is not only undergoing a radical transformation through the over-exploitation of fossil fuels, but in which plastic now also permeates life on earth on every level.

Over the last couple of conferences organised by the European Society for Oceanists, representatives from the Pacific region repeatedly urged European academics and representatives from the Global North to acknowledge the obligations activated by their relations in Oceania, and to recognize the responsibilities to Oceanic peoples, to the academy and to civil society that come with the exchange of expert knowledge. European academics face similar calls from governments, research councils, and policy-makers to demonstrate explicitly the usefulness of their expert knowledge, the so-called valorisation of which has become a key condition of research funding.

The discussions that took place at ESfO 2015 also focused around the demand for exchanging knowledge into useful activities and because academics as well as policy makers from all global regions were represented the conference entailed new conceptual frames and working relations that derive their force from different rationales. In consequence, ESfO 2015 may offer some innovative ideas for new kinds of social relations between Europe and the Pacific in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the conference was a great success.


The European Society for Oceanists (ESfO) was established in 1992 on the occasion of the First European Colloquium on Pacific Studies held at Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Since then, ESfO has organised an international conference every two to three years, each held in a different European country. ESfO conferences provide the primary venue for Pacific scholars in Europe. The conferences are timed to enable delegates from the Pacific, the US, Australia and New Zealand to attend, and are well known for supporting presentations by PhD students and junior scholars. ESfO is governed by an elected Board representing European countries, and holds an annual Board meeting with the local organising committee to discuss the formulation of the scholarly themes, and to assess the provisions and arrangements. From its inception, ECOPAS has had a close relationship with ESfO.

Since 1992, ESfO conferences have become renowned for gathering together academics based in different regions of the world, and for creating a productive gathering of inter-personal and conceptual relations through which cutting-edge scholarship is presented, discussed and developed. Although the core of discussion may be constituted by Pacific anthropology, knowledge exchanges are truly multidisciplinary by involving social geographers, political scientists, historians, linguists, and development scientists. ESfO is cultivating a reputation for being hard on the ideas but easy on the persons, engendering a serious but informal context for researchers to work together and create long-lasting alliances. ESfO has Working Sessions (rather than Panels) to reflect this aspect of collective scholarship. As the only conference in the field of Pacific Studies that is scheduled during university vacations across the world, this role has over the years become recognised internationally.

The 10th ESfO conference held in Brussels in June 2015 was a unique event not only because of the jubilee of the Society, but especially because it was organised in close cooperation with ECOPAS. The Consortium aimed at coordinating the collective expertise of Pacific research in Europe and Oceania by integrating the European Society for Oceanists in the formation of an institutionalised network of scholars. Furthermore, ECOPAS has been dedicated to developing channels for the communication of research results to policy makers, especially in fields such as climate change and sustainable development. As a consequence, the Brussels conference brought together not only the ESfO membership, but also all members of the Consortium and collaborating scientists as well as other experts on the implications of climate and social change in the Pacific, in particular interested parties from the relevant departments of the European Commission. Thus, the conference generated a long-term effect in terms of strengthening the network of scholars working in the Pacific and by bringing original research in dialogue with policy. In so doing, this conference not only returned to the potentials of research materials and retrieved that which the Pacific region itself articulates as important, but it also re-oriented the international research community of Pacific studies to becoming more closely integrated with the Pacific outlook on the world by merging the research agenda to the level of social concern on the ground.

The peoples of Oceania are renowned for taking outside interests forcefully on their own terms, as histories of colonisation and de-colonisation have demonstrated time and again. This long and distinguished history of engaging with people from other regions of the world on their own social and cultural terms, and on the basis of their own economic and political interests, became newly implicated in the transformation of ESfO through its collaboration with ECOPAS in the organisation of the 10th conference in Brussels in June 2015.

ECOPAS was launched at the 9th ESfO conference held in Bergen in December 2012 and completed its mission in Brussels in June 2015. The Head of State of the Independent State of Samoa, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta'isi Efi, complimented ESfO and ECOPAS during his opening keynote address at the conference in Brussels for having shifted the focus of European studies in Europe from ‘talking about’ and ‘talking down to’ the Pacific to ‘talking with and alongside’ the Pacific. After the 10th conference in Brussels in June 2015, the European Society of Oceanists may indeed be considered as the leading organisation in the world that prioritizes Pacific concerns at the interface of research and policy in Europe and elsewhere.


The main objective of ECOPAS WP2 involved the construction of a database system for retrieving, storing, managing and disseminating information about the Pacific region particularly in the domain of climate change (Resources Framework), and about the scientific expertise in Pacific studies (People and Competences Framework). The framework also includes a conference management module to be used by the research community, the European Society for Oceanists (ESfO) in particular. This module was launched for and greatly facilitated the organization of the 10th ESfO conference held in Brussels in June 2015. The organisation process relied on the creation of an ESfO membership database. Conference delegates had to create an account and a profile on in which they could add and edit information about their expertise before they could upload their conference abstract. The development of this framework is an ongoing process, which entails a continuously increasing number of self-entered profiles of experts. In consequence, various digital interfaces are combined in a unique platform that allows different categories of users to access or contribute to the extension of the database. As mentioned before, some of these interfaces are also associated with specific roles and procedures related to the conference management module.

Researchers and students working in/on the Pacific region can:
• Create an account and a profile through a self-desk module, then add and edit information with respect to their expertise on an ongoing basis.
• Make their profile and expertise publicly available on the website:
• Find and contact other experts in Pacific studies working on specific countries and/or topics.
• Search for bibliographic, archival, multimedia and geographic resources related to specific countries and/or topics (such as climate change).
• Submit the abstract of their paper to the relevant working session of ESfO conferences and possibly other scientific events relevant to Pacific Islanders and Pacific studies.
• Use the conference management system to facilitate the organisation of such scientific events.

Decision/policy-making institutions and other stakeholders can:
• Find and contact a pool of scholars with scientific expertise and a range of experiences with respect to specific Pacific countries and issues.
• Access a set of reliable information sources on each Pacific country from either a list of countries, an interactive map, or a geography-based browsing of the database.

The general public can:
• Obtain an overview of both general and scientific information related to each Pacific country (information from The World Factbook and Wikipedia; a list of administrative areas, official websites, languages, museum collections; a list of experts and research topics; etc.).
• Access a country-specific virtual library that includes references of books, archives, maps, pictures, and audio and video documents.

Organisers of a scientific event relevant to Pacific Islanders and Pacific studies can:
• Use the database framework to create a website for a conference; nominate the managers of plenary and parallel sessions; launch the processes of session submission, paper submission and conference registration; produce the conference booklet; facilitate the logistics of the conference; etc.
• Give session managers the ability to approve, move to another session, reject or withdraw the papers submitted in their session.

Since it was launched, the database framework has been presented to representatives of numerous research, resource-holding and decision/policy-making institutions in Europe and in the Pacific (including Australia, Hawai’i, Fiji, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Solomon Islands). In sum, is currently widely known as the most comprehensive resource of information on Pacific studies in the world. Figure 2 uploaded with the Final Report provides an overview of the database framework and associated digital interfaces in their state in Month 36.

Deliverable D7.732: Launch of Research Agenda in Brussels is central to the Work Programme but has seen quite a different development from what was foreseen at the outset. Already from the first activities in Brussels, notably the launching of the ECOPAS project in the European Parliament in March 2013 with a range of Commission and Parliament representatives and Pacific Islands diplomats present, a steady stream of proposals for future research started coming in for further discussion, evaluation and elaboration by Consortium Participants. The foundations of a future agenda for policy-oriented SSH research in and on the Pacific was thus already laid early on. WP7 was originally not scheduled to escalate activities until about month 12, but continuous discussion on research priorities agendas evolved through meetings in the first year of the ECOPAS Executive Board and Scientific Advisory Board (March and December 2013), in a meeting held in September 2013 of the ECOPAS European Work Package leaders and the board of the European Society of Oceanists (ESfO), and in several meetings of ECOPAS WP1 and WP3 representatives with Commission and EEAS personnel in Brussels.
Significant further expansions of ECOPAS efforts in the research-and-policy field took place already from the latter half of 2013 through the implementation of a comprehensive review of the European Union's development cooperation with the Pacific, commissioned in November by the European Parliament's Committee on Development, and delivered formally to the Parliament in a high-profile meeting in April 2014, with EEAS and Commission representatives present. The deepened understandings afforded by this commissioned review carried out by ECOPAS outside of the Work Programme also resulted in deeper dialogues with Commission and EEAS staff on future scenarios for an expanded ECOPAS research programme. Deliverable D7.722 the Policy Brief on Europe-Pacific cooperation, summarised key dimensions of these insights and was distributed widely, which led to further dialogue in and outside of the Consortium.
The Policy Implementation Plan (D1.131) summarised the project's key findings in this regard during P1, and placed the observations and recommendations in the context of research-and-policy interfaces focused on Europe-Pacific relations, proposing elements of an agenda for future research. The drafting and completion of this Plan was carried out over a considerably longer time frame than originally intended and stated in Annex I. This Deliverable, although primarily intended for internal Consortium discussion and planning, also proved useful for consultations with the European Commission and EEAS, and for sharing of ideas with potential additional research partners in a possible future project.
The initial objective of launching a new research agenda in Brussels can therefore be summarised as a chronological, cumulative series of events, and the associated Deliverable D7.732 summarises this sequence and synthesises research recommendations on the basis of this large range of events and sources. An overview of main fora for initiation, discussion, planning and presentation from 2012 to 2015 is given here:

5 December 2012: Opening Plenary at 9th ESfO Conference, Bergen / Climate Change Challenges and European-Pacific Cooperation: Building Institutional Research Frameworks for the Future (an introduction of the ECOPAS initiative and work programme to the European Society for Oceanists)
20 March 2013: ‘Pacific Connections’ Roundtable 1 / Restoring the Human to Climate Change in the Pacific (European Parliament) ->
29 May 2013: ‘Pacific Connections’ Roundtable 2 / Pacific Sustainability (EEAS) ->
30 May 2013: ‘Pacific Connections’ Roundtable 3 / Re-thinking Gender in the Pacific (EEAS) ->
7 April 2014: Presentation to the European Parliament Committee on Development of the commissioned study European Union Development Strategy in the Pacific ->
11 April 2014: ‘Pacific Connections’ Roundtable 4 / Social Impacts of Climate Change in the Pacific (EEAS) ->
5 June 2014: ECOPAS state-of-the art presentation on Europe-Pacific relations, to DG-RTD Research Meets Diplomacy conference ->
5 September 2014: Submission of ECOPAS Deliverable D1.131 Policy Implementation Plan ->
25 September 2014: Original submission of ECOPAS Deliverable D7.722 Policy Brief No. 2 / Re-thinking Europe-Pacific Relationships in Development Cooperation ->
15 October 2014: ‘Pacific Connections’ Roundtable 5 / What Future for Fisheries in the Pacific? (EEAS) ->
27 June 2015: ‘Pacific Connections’ Roundtable 6 / Future EU-Pacific Connections (Closing Plenary and ECOPAS General Assembly at the 10th Conference of the European Society for Oceanists).

As a rule, all the events listed included a combination of prominent Pacific scholars from within and beyond the Consortium (including on most occasions colleagues from Pacific Islands institutions, relevant representatives of the European Commission (across the applicable DGs and including DG-RTD) and EEAS, and Pacific Islands diplomats resident in Brussels. At the final event which saw the presentation of research and policy priorities and agendas to the closing plenary of the 10th conference of European Society for Oceanists, an audience of about 300 scholars and additional Commission and EEAS staff and Pacific diplomats was addressed and involved in discussion.

Deliverable 7.732 summarises this three-year process of research agenda development and provide a set of recommendations and proposed research orientations for a longer-term effort of Pacific research focused on the Pacific-European axis and building on the achievements of the ECOPAS Work Programme.

Also Attached in PDF document ECOPAS FINAL REPORT 32098

Potential Impact:
ECOPAS – European Consortium for Pacific Studies
FP7 Grant No 32098
Final Report


ECOPAS is a Coordination & Support Action (CSA). These grants do not cover research itself, but rather the coordination and networking of projects, programmes and policies, to build added value for research and policy. Building on regulations and definitions for FP7 CSA grants, activities in the ECOPAS Work Programme 2012-2015 may be described as including the following (as well as other) main dimensions:
• coordination and networking activities, dissemination and the use of research knowledge
• implementation of studies or formation of expert groups assisting the implementation of research
• support for transnational access to major research infrastructures
• actions to stimulate the participation of smaller enterprises, civil society and their networks
The achievements of the ECOPAS Work Programme and its consistent focus on developing the context and ambitions for, and impact of, social science and humanities research in and on the Pacific Islands region, reflect such dimensions and ambitions:
• the building of a new, permanent level of organisation of European research activities focused on the Pacific region
• the connection at levels not seen before of key research institutions in the Pacific in European networks
• the formation of European-Pacific expert groups capable of long-term joint research and wide-ranging policy advice
• the permanent provision of global online access to a new database framework for expertise on the Pacific Islands region
• implementation of multidisciplinary studies of climate change, Europe-Pacific cooperation, gender inequality and other themes of cross-cutting nature
• the building of lasting channels for research-based knowledge exchange that involve Pacific research in dialogues with European Union policy-makers and decision-makers, Pacific and European diplomats, Pacific activist movements and Pacific performing artists, and many other agencies and agents
• the permanently raised visibility in Europe of both Pacific research and Pacific perspectives on, and solutions to, challenges of climate change and related concerns.

Plan for Use and Dissemination of Results

The original Description of Work (DOW) for the ECOPAS project included the following set of statements on ambitions for dissemination:

At regular intervals ECOPAS will enable workshops, briefings, meetings and video-conferences to take place with participants from Pacific research institutions and relevant policy-makers and politicians engaging in SSH topics related to climate change in the Pacific. Initial highlights of these exchanges will be conveyed at the major 2013 conference in Suva (WP4).

A regular face-to-face forum will enable relevant EU representatives to meet with task-oriented work groups operated by the Consortium. This forum will be organized in the form of ‘Briefing Days’ on a schedule of several times per year, each focusing on a specific set of topics as well as giving more general overviews of recent and current developments in the region and in relevant EU policy. Policy briefs will be developed and distributed for these occasions.

ECOPAS will develop visual strategies in research and knowledge transfer, as for example films on local responses to climate change that can be directly communicated to policy makers. The usefulness of moving images over text will be exploited in order to create an understanding of what climate change is really about in the Pacific context. A distinctive spin-off outcome of ECOPAS will be a high-profile dance/drama production by the University of the South Pacific (WP4) focused on Pacific climate change, for regional touring and ultimately performances in Europe.

All FP7 funded projects are required to establish a plan at the end of the project period for ‘use and dissemination of foreground (including socio-economic impact and target groups for the results of the research)’. In the case of ECOPAS and the project’s progress as a Coordination and Support Action, relevant Foreground (‘results, including information, materials and knowledge, generated in a given project’) has been implemented for immediate use and dissemination on a continuous basis. This process has been documented by the periodic reports for P1 and P2, and a detailed account of project achievements and results, under 13 separate headings, is given in the immediately preceding Description of Work and Results. We also refer, for concise information on the ECOPAS project’s configuration, context and Objectives, to the introductory summaries in this final report.

One direct and high-level form of impact of the ECOPAS Work Programme was reported on in detail in the Description of Work and Results: the massive and very successful building, mainly by the efforts of WP3, of new channels for knowledge exchange and communication between the research community and the policy-making scenes in Brussels.

The online submission of this Final Report includes the registration of major Dissemination events. Selected dissemination materials and other relevant contributions are uploaded as attachments to the final report:

01 ECOPAS 2013-2015 Major Events (PDF)
02 ECOPAS 2014 EC DG-RTD ECOPAS Success Story (PDF)
03 ECOPAS 2014 – Parliament Study – DG-RTD SSH News (PDF)
04 ECOPAS 2014 WP2 Databases Plaquette (PDF)
05 ECOPAS 2015-06-23 MOANA at the European Parliament (PDF)
06 ECOPAS 2015-06-23 MOANA at the European Parliament (2) (PDF)
07 ECOPAS 2015 Moana – the Rising of the Sea – Events EC DG-RTD (PDF)
08 ECOPAS 2015 Moana performance at ESfO 2015-06-25 flyer (PDF)
09 ECOPAS 2015 UiB Magazine 2015 p 20-29 ECOPAS & Moana (PDF)
10 ECOPAS 2015 The impact of climate change on the Pacific – E Hviding – DG-RTD SSH (PDF)
Moana – the Rising of the Sea Promo Trailed for European Tour 2015-HD (MP4)

As for Publications from the project, a substantial additional publishing plan is being implemented as results from associated, tangential research activities accumulate – in particular, the ECOPAS Coordinator has negotiated a contract with the prominent publisher University of Hawai’i Press for a benchmark edited volume on climate change in the Pacific Islands. In terms of direct printed materials (also available online) from the ECOPAS project, there are 4 Newsletters, 3 Policy Briefs, and two separate Reports detailed below under sections 4-5. These are all in the public domaion and remain aviailable online through the ECOPAS websites under continued operation through the services of Participant 2, Aix-Marseilles University.

The five main sections of the following account are concerned with two distinct fields of impact and dissemination of and by the project. The first field (sections 1-3) details the general media and communications strategy, and relies on a massive Deliverable that contains a large diversity of Appendices, but also includes detailed accounts of the implementation of ECOPAS of a high-impact European Tour of the world-class climate change stage drama Moana: the Rising of the Sea (developed by WP4, with the Tour implemented by WP7), and of the subsequent production by WP7 of a high-quality film which forms a cornerstone of the tour. The second field (sections 4-5) covers two examples of tangential work, not part of the Work Programme, but allowing the ECOPAS consortium to engage directly in high-level policy arenas of the European Parliament and the European Commission, respectively. These two commissioned projects (of different scale; € 15,000 for the European Parliament study, and the much larger sum of € 150,000 for the DG-DEVCO study) demonstrate the ability of the ECOPAS Consortium and its wider network to generate interest in the European Union system for its unique Pacific expertise.


In the following account, responsibilities and contributions of each specific Work Package (WP) are stated as and where appropriate and – if needed – specified as per Deliverable. Item 1. is directly concerned with a specific Deliverable, and so constitutes a summary.

D7.731: Pacific Media Coverage and Communication: The original, somewhat modest objective for this Deliverable was to develop regular ‘media contact with newspapers, radio and other channels in the relevant Pacific countries, in order to identify potentials and agenda for research’. However, from the early days of the project period WP1 created a new ECOPAS Facebook page, and WP2 followed by setting up an ECOPAS Twitter account.
It is safe to say that since then, both ambition and practice exceeded the modest original goals in every sense. In fact the media and communication component of the ECOPAS project became vital to the promotion of project activities, for communicating the challenges and impacts of climate change in the Pacific to the general public in both Pacific and European countries, and for creating dialogues on research priorities.
This Deliverable therefore includes an elaborate portfolio of communication pieces from newspaper articles, magazines, social media and other online fora. The Deliverable provides screenshots from the ECOPAS Facebook page and the ECOPAS database at The 2015 European tour of Moana: The Rising of the Sea in particular generated a wide range of interviews, opinion pieces and news stories about the challenges faced by Pacific Islanders in relation to climate change. Starting already at the opening conference of ECOPAS in Suva, December 2013, Moana attracted national media in Fiji, and had coverage from newspapers and television prior to and during a week of shows in Suva. With Moana as a vantage point, Fijian media published stories on the general themes and events of the 2013 conference, including an after-the-fact story on the overall success of the event. When Moana travelled to Europe in 2015, the ECOPAS project experienced a peak in media coverage as local and national newspapers and broadcasting media in Norway, the United Kingdom and Denmark ran and published pieces on the performance and its approach to Pacific climate change. We provide Norwegian media coverage largely in the original language, but it is indicative of the scope and range of media attention and thereby public impact. The UiB Magazine - an international magazine which focuses on current research at the University of Bergen – devoted ten pages of their annual issue, this year with a focus on climate change, to the Pacific Islands, ECOPAS and the Moana performance.
It has been noted how, from the very beginning of the project, we came to realise that Facebook would be our major channel for day-to-day communication. The ECOPAS Facebook page has since been operated by the WP1 Coordinator Team on behalf of WP7, with administrator rights to post also held in other Work Packages. The social media platform has proven to be a ‘real time’ connection between the European and Pacific Participants in the project, as well as an arena for communicating with and expanding on the network of experts and scholars we have worked towards mapping in the ECOPAS database built and operated by WP2. It has become obvious to us in this process that Facebook gives the opportunity to be much more current and constantly up to date than our much more static website In order to connect the two platforms, WP2 has incorporated the ECOPAS Facebook newsfeed on the front page of the website. The Facebook page has mainly been utilised for sharing news stories and articles on climate change and other current issues in the Pacific, as well as advertising events in Europe and the Pacific where climate change and the Pacific Islands have been central topics of discussion. On occasions of climate change induced disasters, such as the recent series of flash flooding in the low-lying atols of the Marshall Islands, the ECOPAS Facebok åage has been an immediate hub for connecting local news messages with global responses.The ECOPAS project has continuously worked towards our local, as well as national and international communities, and through cooperation among all project participants we have managed to promote our agenda to multiple public arenas.
Deliverable 7.731 contains a wide selection of ECOPAS media coverage, then, and functions as a reference base for us, and for anyone who wishes to see some of the public impacts made through-out the project period. While not chronologically ordered, the stories presented are all important testimonies to the work executed by the entire Consortium and all our associates, including the extraordinary ensemble of artists behind Moana. With reference to the latter D7.731 includes an additional 26-page Deliverable entitled ‘High-impact dissemination of climate change challenges for Oceania: the Moana European Tour, 2015’, which provides a detailed account of the staging over several weeks in June 2015 in the United Kingdom, Denmark and Belgium of Moana: the Rising of the Sea. Moana was first developed by WP4 in 2013 for the first ECOPAS conference in Suva. Large-scale separate non-ECOPAS funding from the University of Bergen (ECOPAS coordinating institution) made it possible to have the entire cast and crew for Moana travel from Fiji to Norway. Following a two-week residence of the Fijian artists at the Bergen International festival, ECOPAS could take over and implement the subsequent tour, operated and funded by WP7 on behalf of WP4. The impact in Europe of the Moana Tour cannot be overestimated.

The Oceania Dance Theatre (ODT) and Pasifika Voices (PV) are professional resident artist ensembles at the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture, and Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Suva, Fiji. They have been affiliated with ECOPAS from the project’s beginning as our performing arts company, attached to WP4. ODT and PV regularly rehearse and perform together as a collective company of dancers and singers with their own artistic directors and technical crew. In this capacity the company in December 2013 premiered Moana: The Rising of the Sea, written and directed by Professor Vilsoni Hereniko, at the ECOPAS conference ‘Restoring the Human to Climate Change’ held at USP. Envisaged as an emotional call to climate change action and a region-wide celebration of Pacific creativity in the face of threats to island well-being and life posed by an ocean relentlessly rising from global warming, Moana established itself at the premiere as a powerful channel for bringing Pacific messages about climate change to the world at large. Already then a plan was made for Moana to travel to Europe in connection with the next major ECOPAS conference in Brussels in June 2015. Although the ECOPAS budget as provided by the European Union and participating institutions did not allow for the funding of such complex global logistics, another opportunity was to arise when Moana: the Rising of the Sea was invited to Norway for performances in May 2015.
On that background, the second part of Deliverable D7.731 gives an account of the remarkable set of opportunities and events through which ECOPAS was able to promote awareness in Europe of the climate change challenges facing Oceania, by creating a large-scale European Tour of Moana. Organised and operated by WP7 (University of Bergen) on behalf of WP4 (University of the South Pacific), the Tour built on the immediately preceding residence of the Moana performance and its cast and directors in Norway, at the prominent Bergen International Festival, 25 May-7 June. From WP7’s original tasks oriented towards the production of policy briefs and other aspects of dissemination, awareness and promotion of future agendas for research, an ambitious agenda of high-impact dissemination was planned for the Tour, ultimately bringing the messages of Moana all the way to the European Parliament.
ECOPAS had the good fortune, then, of cooperating with Coordinator’s host institution, the University of Bergen (UiB), on an ambitious and large-scale effort to raise the presence in Europe of the Pacific, with particular attention to the climate change challenges currently facing Oceania. This was made possible when UiB provided a substantial budget (about EUR 220,000) for the travel between Fiji and Europe of the cast for Moana: the Rising of the Sea (the Oceania Dance Theatre and the Pasifika Voices choir with technical crew and directors), for freight and stage costs, and for the company’s residence at the Bergen International Festival.
A series of high-profile performances, including two sold-out shows of Moana in large theatres were given in Bergen, with massive media attention. The generous funding from the UiB that had brought Moana to Norway provided a unique opportunity for the ECOPAS coordinator team to organise a subsequent European Tour (with coordinator Edvard Hviding as executive producer and Nora Haukali of the Bergen team as tour manager). Between 7 and 26 June, Moana was staged a total of 10 times at St Andrews, Scotland; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Brussels, Belgium.
The Scotland residence (funded mainly by WP3 and its host institution the University of St Andrews) followed immediately after the Bergen International Festival, and provided for smaller-scale shows (6 performances of Moana in total 10-12 June) in close interaction with the local community of this small university town.
In Copenhagen Moana was performed twice, on 16 June, at the international CPH Stage festival to dance-and-theatre oriented audiences.
Brussels saw Moana performed first in the heart of the European Parliament on 23 June (invited by member of parliament Maurice Ponga and attended by parliamentarians and their advisory teams), and finally on 25 June to a large and diverse audience at the 550-seat Viage Theatre, as part of the conference of the European Society for Oceanists (see ECOPAS Newsletter 3).
In this sequence of shows, a continuous adaptation of the stage show took place according to the opportunities and constraints offered by each venue. Moana: the Rising of the Sea revolves around a central stage prop – ‘the wave’; a great length of hand-painted heavy fabric representing the ocean, and operated by five hip-hop oriented young male dancers in detailed choreography integrated with the movements of singers and dancers. The complexity of the show is high, as are the ideal technical requirements – in fact the full set of requirements could only be met once, at the Oseana theatre near Bergen, a large state-of-the-art opera type stage which for the occasion was improved by a large quantity of extra lights and other gear from the Bergen International Festival. However the flexibility of the Moana Company and their directors is extremely high, as was attested to when the performance, including the placement and movement of the ‘wave’, had to be adapted on short notice to small, restricted stages such as in Copenhagen (where technical facilities were excellent, however) and the European Parliament (where there was very little technical gear at all).
Directed by some of Oceania’s leading creative forces – writer and producer Vilsoni Hereniko, choreographer Peter Rockford Espiritu, composer Igelese Ete and lead actor Allan Alo – the professional dancers and singers from the University of the South Pacific’s Oceania Centre took on a dedicated identity also as climate change warriors. The artistic power and political impact of the European Tour attests to, as Vilsoni Hereniko writes in the stage programme, the power of the arts to ‘move the debate of climate change from your head to your heart’. Never before has Europe seen such a Pacific presence. At the conclusion of the Tour this presence was further expanded by the gathering in Brussels – for the conference and for the performance – of large numbers of Pacific diplomats, dignitaries and scholars, as well as Pacific Islanders resident in Europe.
The European Tour of Moana was a unique, unprecedented instance of high-impact dissemination of ECOPAS project efforts concerning the human dimension of climate change in the Pacific. The effects of the European Tour in terms of valorisation and impact are attested to by the fact that a new film version from one of the Bergen International Festival performances was invited for screening at the COP21 climate change summit in Paris in December 2015, as the closing event of the COP21’s high-level Oceans Day, with state leaders and other dignitaries in the audience. The writer and producer Professor Hereniko gave personal and insightful introductions to the performances in both Bergen and Brussels, which transported the audience to the exact realities at hand in the Pacific.


ECOPAS, in association with the University of Bergen and the Bergen International Festival, is proud to present a new film of the stage performance Moana: the Rising of the Sea. This film will be an enduring dissemination result with wide distribution in the public domain.

On 31 May 2015, the second show at the Bergen International Festival, at the state-of-the-art Oseana Theatre by the sea south of the city, was recorded by a professional team with six cameras in HD format. During subsequent months, a film of 57 minute duration (the performance in total being ca 70 minutes) was edited by Varde Media and by Moana producer and executive producer Vilsoni Hereniko and Edvard Hviding. Filming and editing were funded by the University of Bergen as part of its sponsorship of Moana for the Bergen International Festival. The final film was named Moana Rua: the Rising of the Sea, rua being a widespread Pacific word for ‘two’, signifying this film being the second after an original shorter DVD made from the premiere performances of Moana in Suva in 2013.

On 18 November 2015 Moana Rua: the Rising of the Sea had its world premiere at the Damodar Cinema in Suva, Fiji. The premiere was kindly sponsored by the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, and was attended by the Moana cast with family and friends and by a large number of guests from the University of the South Pacific, European and Pacific embassies in Suva, and regional political and activist organisations. A press conference was convened, and media coverage of the Premiere included newspapers and television. In subsequent days, Moana Rua and a short film adapted from it entitled The Chief’s Speech to the United Nations were screened in Honolulu at the Hawai’i International Film Festival and at side events there. Moana Rua has been invited to, and is scheduled for, a number of international screenings in 2016.

At the COP21 conference in Paris, Moana Rua was invited to play a key role of the main side event of 4 December, Oceans Day. A high-level full-day programme with state leaders and diverse dignitaries was concluded with the screening of a somewhat shortened version of Moana Rua, presented by lead actor and creative director Allan Alo and executive producer Edvard Hviding. Once again, Pacific arts were given the privilege of setting its own tone for the climate change debate, this time at the pivotal context of COP21. Impact potential could not have been higher. Since the timing was beyond the funding period of ECOPAS, the University of Bergen kindly funded Alo’s travel between Samoa and Paris and other expenses.

Thanks to funding from the University of Bergen, Moana Rua is being made freely available on DVD to interested parties, including the European Commission and the EU Delegation for the Pacific, and will in due course be uploaded for open-access streaming. Meanwhile queries can be directed to The global distribution of the film should provide a lasting impact in terms of the overall ambition of the ECOPAS project of ‘Restoring the Human to Climate Change in Oceania’.


Camilla Borrevik, Tony Crook, Edvard Hviding & Craig Lind
ISBN 978-823-5763-7 / Doi: 10.2681/6397

Early on in the ECOPAS project period, an extraordinary opportunity was offered for high-level impact on European policy and decision making. On 7 April 2014, the FP7 funded European Consortium for Pacific Studies (ECOPAS) presented a new study of European Union Development Strategy in the Pacific to the European Parliament. Commissioned for the Parliament’s Committee on Development by the EP’s Policy Department, € 15,000 was provided towards the implementation of the study, which was managed by the ECOPAS Coordinator. The study was carried out by ECOPAS through the use of the project’s network of research resources in the social sciences and humanities, and also relied on the close relationships established by ECOPAS to EU agencies like the EEAS, DG DEVCO and DG CLIMA and to Pacific policy makers on national and regional levels. From a combination of extensive desk reviews and interviews with officials, policy makers and parliamentarians in Brussels and in several Pacific locations, the study analyses the current and future contexts for European Union engagement in development cooperation with the Pacific, and proposes key elements of a renewed EU development strategy for the region.

In the presentation on 7 April to the Parliament’s Committee on Development, Committee Chair MEP Eva Joly welcomed the study’s findings and concrete policy advice. Speakers on behalf of ECOPAS were Consortium Coordinator Professor Edvard Hviding (Norway), Work Package Leader Dr. Tony Crook (United Kingdom), and invited guest Mr Fe'iloakitau Kaho Tevi (Fiji), an experienced Pacific policy maker who currently heads the Leadership, Green Growth and Sustainability Project of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Oceania. Subsequent discussion involved Members of Parliament and representatives of the EEAS, and was continued informally during a reception afterwards on the occasion of the Committee’s last meeting.

From Press Release:

This study entitled European Union Development Strategy in the Pacific analyses the current and future contexts for a European Union development strategy in the Pacific, and proposes a series of policy recommendations as a basis for action by the European Parliament.

The independent nations of the Pacific all belong to the category of Small Island Developing States or SIDS. However, this definition represents extremes of scale, exemplified by Papua New Guinea’s population of about 7,5 million and Niue’s population of less than 2,000. Few countries are more different from each other in terms of demography, resources and economy. With its large number of nations relative to a small total population, the Pacific region remains the largest recipient of aid per capita in the world. This makes for a distinctive picture of aid distribution.

Pacific people’s livelihoods are intimately connected to globally significant terrestrial and oceanic natural resources, and are increasingly under pressure. While development in the Pacific region is uneven, multi-layered and challenging, the EU’s development cooperation with the Pacific is significant. Between 2008 and 2013, the 10th European Development Fund provided almost 400 million Euro to 15 Pacific nations of the ACP group. In a total picture, the EU can be seen as the second largest aid donor to the Pacific with the combined contributions of the EU and France, but the scene is increasingly one of geopolitical competition with a growing role played by China.

The Pacific nations are far from passive recipients of aid, but continuously develop regional organizational responses in dialogue with the geopolitically charged field of aid and development cooperation, in order to promote an increasingly strong Pacific rethinking of these relations. These initiatives are important future elements in the EU's development strategy for the Pacific.
The region’s new geopolitical currency is a willingness to seriously engage with emerging definitions of an equal, two-way, partnership relation in Pacific terms beyond the monetary dimension of cooperation. The EU is widely viewed as a valued development cooperation partner whose historical and cultural legacies provide the basis for a special relationship that entails special responsibilities.

All existing and future development progress in the Pacific is vulnerable to climate change that has already brought rising sea levels, and variable weather systems that pose immediate risks to livelihoods. Any view of EU development strategy for the Pacific must take climate change, and the terms of local perceptions of problems and solutions, as central concerns.

This study was conducted during a watershed moment for EU-Pacific relations. Both of the EU's principal regional partnerships, the Pacific members of the ACP (PACP) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), published reviews that are instructive for future Pacific-EU relations. It is vital that the EU similarly reviews the rationales for its position and relations with PACPs and PIF, and its donor coordination in the region.

The key issue here is to understand and respond to critiques of donor-led and ‘top-down’ development, that is, to examine the ways in which decisions are made, and the kinds of decisions that are made, and to consider whether the current process is able to design and deliver projects that are appropriate and workable at the local level of development ownership.

Rising to the challenge of reimagining EU-Pacific relations will require a good deal of work and reflection. The Pacific clearly constitutes a geopolitical context whose importance is markedly set to grow in significance, and there is a clear rationale for the EU to commit further resources to support its interests and activities in the region. In particular, the EU should enhance and deepen its institutional knowledge and means of drawing upon existing expertise on ‘Pacific Ways’.


Tony Crook, Sue Farran & Emilie Röell, with contributions from co-investigators
DEVCO ADM-MULTI/2014/353-796 - University of St Andrews

(From) Executive Summary
The prevalence of violence against women in the Pacific region is among the highest in the world. Countries across the Pacific region have put in place policy strategies, legal frameworks and a raft of initiatives, but against their own and internationally accepted indicators there has been poor progress towards gender equality, despite the development cooperation efforts of many donors over several decades. What are the cultural contexts shaping the contemporary situation? Why is the current paradigm underpinning gender policy apparently ineffective in grasping the social actions that produce gender inequality in the Pacific?

This report presents the findings of an ethnographic pilot research project into a range of gender inequality issues in the Pacific - discrimination, violence, exploitation, representation - with particular focus on gender violence and women's presence in political and economic contexts. Project members include anthropologists, gender and development specialists, legal scholars and a film-maker who conducted case-studies in ten countries across all three regions of the Pacific - Melanesia (Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu), Micronesia (FSM, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Palau) and Polynesia
(Samoa and Tuvalu).

Researchers were given a free hand to work in their own conceptual register rather than within the confines of received terms and a defined framework, and for the first time in the long-experience of many team members to have an opportunity to work with and through Pacific people's own concepts, relations, values and analyses of what is a stake in the cultural dynamics and social relations through which the everyday actions of gender inequality are produced. We believe that the research findings we report here bear out and justify the EU's vision and confidence in commissioning this study.

We follow retired PNG Minister, Dame Carol Kidu, in culturally contextualising gender inequality as 'an issue to do with the whole community and the family', asking questions about 'how we can address rights-based issues within a communal society', and focusing on Pacific people's 'own capacity to resolve things, in perhaps unusual ways'. This creates a space to vividly illustrate and foreground Pacific people's own understandings and own complex analyses of gender inequality, and to propose perhaps unusual options for policy action. Difference does not necessarily mean inequality – there are different ways in which equality is manifested not simply by things being the same or symmetrical.

Creating participatory spaces for dialogue was the centrepiece of a recent keynote speech in Brussels given by the Head of State of the Independent State of Samoa. His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi is one of the foremost Pacific thinkers and a respected expert on Samoan culture and philosophy, and has developed a method of using 'Samoan indigenous reference' as a means of engaging contemporary issues, and of promoting real dialogue whether critical or commending with one's own cultural assumptions about the world. The aim is to create an open space for dialogue that avoids both reverential adherence and unthinking abandonment, and to enable future orientations rooted in the cultural creativity of particular peoples and places.

By foregrounding Pacific ideas and a participatory method grounded in Pacific relations, our research has sought to follow the leads of these prominent Pacific Islanders and aims to better identify the problems from within, so to speak, such that solutions can be more effectively formulated and innovative pathways for change defined.

Gender inequality in the Pacific is a complex of historical and contemporary relations, values and concepts being remade in a transforming regional context that is responding to globalisation in highly distinctive ways. Concepts of gender in the contemporary Pacific are also the outcome of the interplay between the way people in different social positions see different kinds of value in such ideas – e.g personal or political advantages or disadvantages. Different concepts will provide a different emphasis to social positions – e.g. gaining or diminishing in importance and changing the balance of power.

Also Attached in PDF document ECOPAS FINAL REPORT 32098

List of Websites:
The ECOPAS website is at: / The enduring database framework for Pacific research is at:

ECOPAS – European Consortium for Pacific Studies
FP7 Grant No 32098
Final Report


Work Package 1 / Management and Project Coordination
Work Package Leader and main contact: Professor Edvard Hviding,
Administrative contact: Ms Gro Aase,

Work Package 7 / Research Agenda for Policy Making
Work Package Leader and main contact: Professor Edvard Hviding,


Work Package 2 / Resource Sharing and Database Building
Work Package Leader and main contact: Professor Laurent Dousset,


Work Package 3 / Knowledge Exchange: Research Policy Interfaces for the Pacific Context
Work Package Leader and main contact: Dr. Tony Crook,

Work Package 4 / Pacific Contexts: Cooperation and Capacity Building
Work Package Leader and main contact: Dr. Joeli Veitayaki,


Work Package 5 / Strategies for Pacific State and Non-State Involvement
Work Package Leader and main contact: Dr. Fiona Hukula,

Work Package 6 / European Research Networks and Major Thematic Conference
Work Package Leader and main contact: Professor Toon Van Meijl,

The ECOPAS Project Management Team has been based throughout the project period at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, and has consisted of:

Professor Edvard Hviding, Scientific Coordinator
Ms. Eilin Holtan Torgersen, PhD candidate and Management Team Administrator
Ms. Gro Aase, Head of Administration and Research Services
Ms. Marianne Soltveit, Senior Executive Officer Finance
Ms. Nora Haukali, Research Assistant for Logistics and Communication