Dr. Allen Allison
Vice President for Science
The Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice Street
Honolulu , Hawaii 96817 USA
FAX (808) 847-8252

Botany and Biodiversity Division
Prof. Chang-Hung Chou
Research Center for Biodiversity
China Medical University
No.91 Hsueh-Shih Road
Taichung 40402

During the period of 2008-2011, the Task Force Committee of Biodiversity and the Scientific Committee of
Botany for the Pacific Science Association chaired by Prof. Chang-Hung Chou had actively engaged in
promoting scientific activities by holding two international symposia, namely, 2008 International Symposium on Global Mountain Biodiversity, which was held on 7-10 June, 2008 and Darwin 200: International Symposium
on Global Biodiversity, Haman Health and Well-Being held on December 3-9, 2009. Both were held at the China
Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.

As Vice President of PSA, Dr. Chou now oversees all PSA Working Groups.

Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Information Transect (PABITRA)
Dr. Curt Daehler
c/o Department of Botany
University of Hawaii
3190 Maile Way
Honolulu , Hawaii 96822 , USA

The acronym PABITRA stands for Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect. PABITRA is a flexible design of a transect system that connects a number of island areas in the tropical Pacific (i.e. Oceania) into a network of sites as living landscapes. The sites include upland/inland forests, agro-ecosystems, and coastal habitats with coral reefs, which on islands are close together and interconnected by a number of physical and social parameters. PABITRA is also a network of people concerned with the conservation of island ecosystems and their sustainable production and services. PABITRA is organized and coordinated by a group of scientists with a strong interest in conservation. It is a program of the Pacific Science Association (PSA) Ecosystem Division in the Task Force of Biodiversity (TFB). A manual was prepared to fill a gap of explaining ecological methodology for biodiversity assessment in island ecosystems. The network responds to a call by the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (ratified in Rio de Janeiro, 1992) for 1) the development of methods for systematic sampling and monitoring of the biological diversity in terrestrial, aquatic, coastal and marine ecosystems and 2) the participation of local and indigenous peoples in this endeavor. To address these needs a manual was prepared to explain ecological methodology for biodiversity assessment in island ecosystems and capacity building workshops organized in PABITRA Pacific Island nations.

Long-term PABITRA Goals
PABITRA’s long-term goals coincide with those of the Pacific Science Association:
1) to promote cooperation and communication in science; in the PABITRA network specifically applicable to biodiversity science;

2) to review common scientific concerns; in the PABITRA network specifically applicable to the ecology of landscape change and ecosystem disturbances in Oceania;

3) to strengthen the bonds among Pacific peoples; in the PABITRA network specifically to involve indigenous islanders in the program.

The 21st Pacific Science Congress

12 – 19 June, Okinawa, Japan

The 21st Pacific Science Congress Resolutions
Upon the recommendation of session leaders and participants, the Pacific Science Council has endorsed the following official resolutions of the 21 st Pacific Science Congress:

Communicating Science
The 21st Pacific Science Congress endorses the exploration of a new PSA Working Group on Science Communication to develop new communications tools such as Web-accessible information systems, to more effectively address the need to stimulate broader and more inclusive science communication throughout the Pacific region.

The 21st Pacific Science Congress endorses the following:

  1. A comprehensive biological survey to document the distributions of species and their ecological requirements, and that the PSA Biodiversity Task Force play a leading role in this endeavor; and
  2. Development of new communications tools, especially Web-accessible information systems, to facilitate the dissemination of important information on the biodiversity of the Pacific region; and
  3. Strenuous efforts to develop the local institutional capacity in Pacific regional institutions, particularly in the areas of biological sciences, taxonomy, parataxonomy, and bioinformatics, which are essential to understanding and supporting sustainable resource utilization; and
  4. Prioritization of research on large-scale environmental processes in the region; and
  5. More intensive and sustained field-level conservation efforts working in authentic partnership with local communities and other stakeholders; and
  6. The greater use of social science tools and community-driven approaches to address on-the-ground conservation efforts; and
  7. Prioritizing efforts by scientists, conservation practitioners, and other stakeholders to document and to support traditional systems that effectively promote the sustainable use and management of natural resources in the Pacific.

Coral Reef Fisheries and Ecosystems
The 21st Pacific Science Congress endorses the following actions in order to enhance the effectiveness of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management in the Pacific region:

  1. More inclusive resource management approaches that ensure that all stakeholders and users of reef resources are actively engaged in the sustainable management of these critical ecosystems; and
  2. Greater collaboration between scientists and resource managers to develop appropriate research programs and management and policy plans, and easy-to-use data processing tools that will facilitate more effective monitoring and managing of reef fisheries; and
  3. Enhanced cooperation between scientists, local fishers, and local stakeholders to increase data collection on coral reef fisheries and ecosystems, which will facilitate more effective implementation of Ecosystems-Based Fisheries Management; and
  4. More intensive efforts to increase international and inter-regional institutional collaboration, particularly between those with advanced marine science expertise and regional Pacific institutions; and
  5. Enhanced information sharing and collaboration between projects and programmes in the Pacific region to ensure more efficient Ecosystems-Based Fisheries Management; and
  6. Strengthening the PSA Coral Reef Task Force in order to more effectively address these issues.

Ocean Acidification
Recognizing that available scientific evidence indicates that the phenomenon of ocean acidification is likely to have significant negative effects on marine species and habitats that are vital to ecological processes and the natural services they provide to human societies locally, regionally, and globally, the 21 st Pacific Science Congress endorses the immediate prioritization of research on the species-, ecosystem-, and societal-level implications of ocean acidification, and the establishment of a PSA Task Force on Ocean Acidification to facilitate this research.

Education For Sustainable Development In The Pacific Islands
Recognizing that current development models in the Pacific region are inherently unsustainable; and that education is a fundamental force driving attitudes that shapes social, economic and environmental change, therefore enhancing educational contexts is essential to promoting sustainability and the attainment of Millennium Development Goals. The 21st Pacific Science Congress endorses the establishment of a PSA Task Force on Education for Sustainable Development in Pacific Islands Region. This Task Force will facilitate communication and collaboration between regional and international universities and research organizations in order to promote the implementation of the objectives of the U.N. Decade for Education on Sustainable Development. It will promote integration of modern scientific methodologies with traditional knowledge systems in order to establish new and more appropriate and effective educational approaches. The Task Force will also aim to organize a major session on “Education for a Sustainable Island Pacific: A Synthesis between Local and Globally Emerging Values and Issues” for the 11 th Pacific Science Inter-Congress that will be held in Tahiti, French Polynesia in March 2009.

Strengthening Linkages Between Science and Policy
Recognizing that scientific knowledge and evidence is essential in informing society and policymakers on important and emerging issues and the courses of action required to effectively address them, the 21 st Pacific Science Congress endorses using the PSA network to identify key opportunities for collaboration between various institutions that will strengthen linkages between scientists and policymakers.

Click here for a PDF version of the Congress Resolutions.

Click here for the final declaration from the Asia Pacific Telemedicine Initiative “Building eHeath Services in Developing Countries”.

Click here for the text of the Address by HIH Princess Takamado to the Opening Plenary session.

Click here for a PDF text of the final Resolution from the PSA Council thanking the hosts, co-organizers, and other participants.

Click here for the 2nd Circular for the PSC-21.

The 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress

Pacific Countries and their Ocean: Facing Local and Global Changes
March 2 – 6, 2009
Tahiti, French Polynesia

The 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress (PSIC-11) was held in Tahiti, French Polynesia from 2 – 6 March 2009. The Tahiti meeting was the most well-attended Inter-Congress in PSA’s history, consisting of over 40 symposia and attracting over 881 scientists including 248 students from 49 countries. Including guests and visiting dignitaries, the attendance totaled over 1000 persons.

Resolutions of the 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress

Resolution on Ocean Acidification
In the two years since the 21st Pacific Science Congress endorsed a PSA emphasis on ocean acidification as a rapidly emerging scientific field of critical importance to the Pacific Island nations, the topic has grown in prominence and importance. New information has emerged regarding critical new ecosystem effects for critical habitats such as coral reefs, as well as the prediction of a marked increase in oceanic dead zones. The presentation of a large number of strong contributions in this field at the Inter-Congress is testimony to the strong growth of this field. The PSA therefore encourages the revitalization of the PSA Working Group on Ocean Acidification, with the goal of presenting a comprehensive account of progress in this field to policymakers at the 2011 Congress.

Resolution on Cooperation in Science and Education in the Pacific Islands
PSA recognizes the rapid increase in effective cooperation in science and education between regional and international scientific and educational institutions, international and local NGOs, regional organizations, government agencies, the private sector and local communities, and the application of this cooperation to sustainable development in the Pacific Islands. PSA also recognizes the important contribution that funding entities, including international foundations, industry, and national aid sources, have played in these developments.

PSA endorses the increasing emphasis on the application and packaging of science and education as a basis for improved education and sustainable development and conservation initiatives and for bridging the gap between the most up-to-date science and Pacific Island nations and local communities.
PSA also endorses the increasing emphasis on documenting, conserving, and applying indigenous and traditional knowledge to local development initiatives, and on collecting, protecting, and promoting the conservation of threatened cultural plants and other biodiversity and genetic resources, which can help provide a basis for sustainable island development.

PSA recognizes the importance of increased involvement of youth, Pacific Island peoples and local community representatives in cooperative scientific and educational initiatives, with particular recognition of the increase in the representation of youth in scientific initiatives and the increased emphasis on the postgraduate training of Pacific as integral components of cooperative initiatives.
The PSA recognizes the following gaps or opportunities for further increasing the effectiveness of cooperation in science and education as a basis for sustainable development in the Pacific Islands:

  • The need for greater engagement with Spanish-speaking countries on the eastern Pacific Rim such as Chile and Ecuador that have active interests in Pacific Island scientific research and education.
  • The need for greater emphasis on the involvement of local researchers in scientific research and educational materials development, and on the recording of traditional knowledge and its incorporation into scientific and educational initiatives and outputs.
  • The need to strengthen research capacity with the Pacific Islands though the expansion and enhancement of research initiatives and facilities within the region, increasing formal postgraduate education of Pacific Islanders, and forging strong links between Pacific Rim research organizations and their Pacific Island counterparts.
  • The need to strengthen the application of science and education at the community-level and the packaging and delivery of science and educational materials and research outputs in ways more appropriate for use by local communities.

Resolution on Invasive Alien Species
Invasive alien species (IAS) represent a well-known threat to native Pacific biodiversity and several sectors of the region’s civil society. Several regional organizations are already in place to facilitate regional coordination and cooperation in the taxonomy and natural history of IAS (e.g., PACINET, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL, and the University of the South Pacific); monitoring and control of IAS by the region’s national environmental agencies (e.g., SPREP, Pacific Invasives Partnership); and applied scientific approaches to the monitoring and identification of IAS such as DNA barcoding (e.g., Consortium for the Barcode of Life).

PSA endorses increased collaborative efforts to identify and address invasive species issues, which constitute one of the main threat to sustainable island development. PSA is well-positioned to take an active leadership role in creating synergies among these potential partners.  PSA resolves to promote the creation, by the 22nd PSA Congress in 2011, of a Working Group dedicated to creating the research capabilities needed to implement science-based, cost-effective programs for monitoring and controlling IAS in the Pacific.

Building Research Capacity in Taxonomy
PSA recognizes that taxonomy is a basic tool in addressing many practical socioeconomic challenges, such as food security, environmental protection, and public health. The Association also recognizes the significant “taxonomic impediment” to biodiversity conservation, which is  the lack of trained taxonomists and research infrastructure for taxonomy.

PSA recognizes the need to strengthen taxonomic and bio-informatic capacity in the region as a way of addressing the “taxonomic impediment” to the sustainable use of, and equitable access to, biodiversity, and resolves to strengthen the long-term collaborations between the taxonomic research institutions and activities on Pacific islands and taxonomic initiatives around the Pacific Rim and elsewhere.

Resolution Thanking the PSI-09 Hosts and Local Organizing Committee

The Pacific Science Association wishes to extend its congratulations and gratitude to the Governments of France, the Government of French Polynesia for the outstanding success of the 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress. In particular, the PSA Council and Executive Board wish to acknowledge the exceptional efforts of Dr. Pierre Mery, Special Assistant in Charge of Research and Technology in French Polynesia, Dr. Priscille Frogier, Director of the Research Department of French Polynesia, and Dr. Jean-Claude Angue, Special Assistant in Charge of Research and Technology in New Caledonia.

The PSA Council and Executive Board also wish to thank the Session Organizers and the members of the International Organizing Committee, including Co-Chairs Dr. Congbin Fu and Dr. Fabrice Colin, as well as Bill Aalbersberg, Hamid Amir, Marie-Lise Chanin, Jean-Claude Cochard, Julie Cole, Juan Correa, Jacques Commaille, David Fielding, Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Hervé Jourdan, Nancy Lewis, Christian Montet, Claude Payri, Serge Planes, Sumonta Promboon, George Roderick, Bernard Salvat, Gérard Siclet, Serge Tcherkezoff, Rémy Teyssou, Randy Thaman, Darrell Tryon, and Makoto Tsuchiya.

PSA also extends its thanks to the Local Organizing Committee, including Mr. Adolphe Colrat, the High Commissioner of the Republic of French Polynesia and Mr. Oscar Temaru, the President of French Polynesia. PSA recognizes and thanks the Vice-President of French Polynesia, the Minister-in-Charge of Research and Cultural Affairs, the Minister-in-Charge of Environment, the Minister-in-Charge of Marine Resources and the Sea, the Minister-in-Charge of Land Planning, the Minister-in-Charge of Health, the Minister-in-Charge of the Economy, and the Heads of the Departments of French Polynesia. Representing the Office of the High Commissioner, we recognize the efforts of the General Secretary, the Attaché to the General Secretary, the Windward Islands Administrator, the Chief of Staff of the High Commissioner, and the Heads of French Departments. The PSA Council and Board thanks the President of the University of French Polynesia and the various research institutions in French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

The PSA thanks the various keynote speakers, including Dr. Louise Peltzer, Dr. Anne Salmond, Dr. Brian Bowen, Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, Dr. John Connell, Dr. Mark McGillivray, Dr. Patrick Kirch, Dr. Joanie Kleypas, Dr. Eric Dewailly, Dr. Dominique Wolton, and Dr. Pierre Jacquet.

The PSA wishes to emphasize its sincere and deep thanks to the Government of France and French Polynesia, who provided the generous financial support for the Inter-Congress. Without this support, the participation of so many young scientists, students, and Pacific Island guests at this meeting would not have been possible. We also wish to acknowledge and thank our partners at the Académie des Sciences for its critical cooperation and support, and for the success in integrating 2nd Symposium on French Research in the Pacific with the 11th Inter-Congress and thereby enhancing the success of both meetings.

The PSA Council and Board recognize the hard work of a number of individuals working in the Inter-Congress Secretariat and logistics team and we thank them for their efforts. The commitment of these persons to the organization of such a complex meeting such as this Inter-Congress was fundamental, and the PSA Council and Executive Board extend their thanks.

The PSA thanks and congratulates the Delegation from Malaysia for its presentation on the 22nd Pacific Science Congress. We look forward to working with the hosts in Malaysia in ensuring the success of the next Congress in Kuala Lumpur in June 2011.

And finally, PSA thanks all the scientists and students who shared the fruits of their research in their presentation and poster sessions.


The goals of the Inter-Congress were:

  1. To assess the knowledge status of local and global changes withing Pacific countries;
  2. To gather Pacific country scientists and other scientists working in the Pacific region
  3. To develop beneficial exchanges between all the countries of the Pacific region, and in particular with the scientific communities of French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, and New Caledonia.
  4. To give young scientists in the Pacific region a stimulating exchange opportunity.

Critical Dates:

  • Deadline for Abstract Submissions: 30 September 2008
  • Deadline for Grant Submission: 30 September 2008
  • Announcement of Abstract Submissions: 31 October 2008
  • Grant Announcements: 31 October 2008
  • Early Bird Registration closes: 31 October 2008
  • Accommodation Bookings close: Early February 2009 (date to be announced)
Resolutions of the 22nd Pacific Science Congress

17 June 2011
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This resolution is endorsed by the Pacific Science Association (PSA), the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia (ASM) as the organizers of the 22nd Pacific Science Congress held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 14 – 17 June 2011. This document is intended to lay out important general directions for the roles, growth and development of science in Asia and the Pacific in the 21st Century, and reflects the commitment and strong engagement of the organizers in ensuring that science develops sustainably and equitably in the Asia-Pacific region. As in other resolutions it is normative and could be adapted to national or regional specificities and serve many different purposes.

The Organisers of the 22nd Pacific Science Congress:

Recalling the theme of the Congress “Asia-Pacific Science in the 21st Century: Meeting the Challenges of Global Change”, and recognising the critical role of science, technology and innovation in developing solutions for the problems facing the world today, and for the development of nations in an ever changing world,

Recognising that the countries of the Asia-Pacific region are expected to be major contributors to scientific research within the next 25 years,

Acknowledging that science is inherently global, and international collaboration and cooperation is essential to successful outcomes, and

Stressing that science must be used for the benefit of society and all nations in Asia and the Pacific have the responsibility to contribute to and benefit from scientific efforts,

Calls upon the scientific community, governments, the business and industry community, non-governmental and community-based organisations in Asia and the Pacific and elsewhere to:

  • Recognise that science, technology and engineering have critical roles to play in developing solutions for the problems facing the Asia-Pacific region today and in the future. A new focus on human security is needed alongside concerns for national security. Human security focuses on the full spectrum of individual livelihoods and community well-being. These are being challenged increasingly by the interconnected problems of climate change, food and energy, as well as the complex and wide-ranging obstacles to growth and development in Asia and the Pacific, with aspects that are unique to the region.  More holistic, comprehensive and integrative mind-sets are needed to fully develop and implement realistic and practical solutions. Research applications are especially needed in climate science, biodiversity and ecosystem services, marine science and oceanography, earth system science and integrated disaster risk management, population and urbanization, agriculture and water resource access, new energy technologies, sustainable resource use, and human health and well-being. These needs are particularly acute in urban areas where population growth is increasingly concentrated. More inclusive approaches to research will enhance the role of science in the emerging “green economy” and in institutional reforms necessary for human security.
  • Increase and improve the involvement of scientists in the communication of science to the general public. The scientific community has a responsibility to understand public attitudes toward science and technology and to engage in public discussions. The use of new communication tools and media such as social media creates unprecedented opportunities to link scientists and their work to the non-scientific community, and to disseminate scientific research findings and their potential application. Scientists should embrace these new media technologies.
  • Improve the development of critical thinking skills across society.  Improved public access to information also increases access to misinformation.  Enabling people to better evaluate various truth claims about the empirical world is increasingly important. Wisdom comes from integrated knowledge that is applied using higher-order thinking about problems. Science can help contextualize various forms of knowledge (both traditional, spiritual/moral, and science itself) in a way that forms the basis for higher levels of wisdom that is needed to help society solve pressing problems effectively and equitably. Greater public understanding of science and better access to research results will strengthen links between science and policy, thereby improving the planning and implementation of programmes for economic development and poverty alleviation throughout Asia and the Pacific.
  • Ensure the integrity of scientific research in the region.  Scientists and others should take the issues of accuracy, transparency, accountability, and openness with the utmost seriousness, responsibility, and integrity. It is critically important that the scientific community embraces these principles so that scientific research results are recognized as authoritative and valued by society as a whole.
  • Applaud the increasing participation of women in science and technology in the region, and support moves to ensure that both men and women play significant and equal roles in the future of science in the Asia-Pacific.
  • Encourage the development of the next generation of scientists in the region through ensuring access to educational opportunities, enabling their participation in research activities, national and international meetings and exchanges, and international collaboration in training and capacity-development programmes. The number of full-time researchers entering academic, research and industrial positions should be increased.
  • Encourage the free movement of scientific talent within the region to foster the exchange of information and skills necessary for capacity development in less developed countries. At the same time, innovative funding and reward structures in academic and research institutions should be explored to provide greater incentives for scientific and technological talent to remain within countries where it is urgently needed to help address national and regional development challenges.
  • Embrace and adopt the principles of the universality, equitability, and responsibility in the conduct of science. Scientists’ freedom of association, expression and communication is a critically important principle that forms the basis of the scientific endeavour. Academic freedom is critical to the training, development and use of science, technology and engineering in Asia and the Pacific and elsewhere.
  • Ensure the equitable access to data, information and research materials, facilities and opportunities that is critical to the continued development and sustainability of science. The creation of collaborative, Internet-based science, technology and innovation networks can promote regional and global cooperation by increasing access to a range of critical information. Network-based information resources can include research results as well as: information on training and capacity-building activities; best practices in education, research and innovation; and current developments in technology development and transfer.
  • Prioritize efforts to integrate small island states into regional and global science activities. Proactive efforts should be made to include islanders in scientific meetings, networks, and regional institutions and coordination initiatives, mechanisms. These efforts can be facilitated through the use of information and computer technology (ICT) solutions, but the physical participation of island-based researchers in regional meetings should also be a priority.
  • Strengthen linkages between the public and private sectors, academia and financial institutions to provide more incentives for commercialization of research results. The mechanisms for funding of research and building strategic partnerships for technology development and transfer will require an innovation-friendly culture and new financing strategies.
  • Encourage researchers and those who fund research to maintain an appropriate and productive balance between curiosity-driven and application-driven research. There is a similar trade-off between commercialization of knowledge-based products and the free and equitable access to data. Private-public and international partnerships that facilitate the commercialization of research results are important strategies that can provide tools to address emerging development challenges, but these should not inhibit free scientific inquiry or access to data on basic or applied research.
  • Recognise that there are no easy or quick solutions to the problems facing the region and society. The implementation and management of solutions that arise from scientific research will require individuals and society to adapt to change. The emergence of science-based solutions to regional and global problems requires both the advance of individual scientific disciplines and their integration into a holistic trans-disciplinary approach. The involvement of non-scientific stakeholders in the development, conduct, and dissemination of research will increase the likelihood that research-based solutions will be accepted by society.
  • Advance the development of science and technology to enhance cooperation and mutual understanding between nations and regions as a tool of international diplomacy and policy to promote peace, sustainable development, and prosperity in Asia and the Pacific.

Official Resolutions of the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress

Suva, Fiji

12 July 2013

The Organizers of the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress:

Recalling the theme of the Inter-Congress, “Science for Human Security and Sustainable Development in the Pacific Islands and Rim”, and recognizing the critical role of science, technology, and innovation in developing solutions to the challenges of global change and for the development of the nations in and around the Pacific Ocean,

Recognizing that the countries and territories of the Pacific Rim and Basin are expected to be major contributors to scientific research and sustainable solutions in coming decades,

Acknowledging that science is inherently global, and that international collaboration and cooperation are essential to successful outcomes that meet both planetary health and human needs,

Call upon the scientific community, governments, the business community, non-governmental organizations and local communities in the region and elsewhere to:

  • Acknowledge that the Earth is in the midst of change unprecedented in human history, the effects of which are already highly prominent in the countries and territories of the Pacific Rim and Basin and are projected to increase greatly. The planet’s natural systems, biota and human inhabitants have reached a point of such major transition that it may be said that we have entered a new geological Epoch, the Anthropocene. Because the transformations affecting the planet and human societies are interconnected and interactive, they are collectively referred to as global change. The term global change thus includes climate change, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, invasive alien species, demographic change, social and cultural change, resource scarcity, changes in agricultural needs and patterns, economic transformations, and changes in the modalities and scales of governance.
  • Recognize that science, technology, and engineering play critical roles in developing solutions to address global change. The highly complex inter-connectedness as well as the very large scales under which global change operates require more integrative and holistic mindsets and approaches that appreciate how phenomena are linked together as systems, and how they may be interpreted within multiple contexts. Inter-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary approaches to science and technology are imperative because they offer greater potential to facilitate the outside-the-box thinking and cross-fertilization that generate knowledge and innovation.
  • Place greater emphasis on human security, which focuses on the full spectrum of individual and community livelihood and well-being and encompasses food, water, energy, health, cultural vitality, and personal security. We call upon all stakeholders to recognize that human security is equally important as (and linked to) national security concerns.
  • Recognize that climate change is both a moral and a technological challenge. Climate change is primarily caused by human activities, and driven mainly by greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s large economies, but with a significant contribution from agriculture- and timber-related deforestation and forest degradation. Sea-level rise associated with anthropogenic global warming presents a threat to the survival of some Pacific Island nations. It is therefore incumbent on responsible countries to take the lead in recognizing their role in contributing to climate change, and mitigating its effects by changing the behaviors that cause it. However, there is a major disconnect between the combined strength of scientific and empirical evidence for human influence on global environmental change, and the political recognition of this evidence by industrialized nations and efforts to initiate steps to mitigate these changes. Because national economies are currently based on fossil fuel-derived energy, achieving timely international coordination and cooperation leading to national responses is a great challenge. The importance of behavior changes that result from moral choice and economic incentive is undeniably critical, but framing the issue as primarily a technological challenge may be an equally or more effective strategy. High income countries should invest more heavily in R&D for near-zero carbon energy technologies, carbon sequestration and removal and/or other novel energy solutions and mitigation technologies. If these are developed and deployed more rapidly, they offer transformative potential to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts, and may also offer more socially equitable access to sustainable energy in low-income areas.
  • Support Future Earth, a new 10-year international research initiative organized under the auspices of ICSU, ISSC, Belmont Forum, UNESCO, UNEP, United Nations University, and other international institutions that will engage the scientific community, policymakers, and other stakeholders in an open, collaborative process to develop the necessary knowledge to respond effectively to the risks and opportunities of global environmental change, and to support transformation towards global sustainability in the wake of Rio+20. Future Earth aims to develop a globally-distributed network of knowledge nodes in order to be responsive to needs and priorities of decision-makers at regional and national level, and we encourage them to fully engage with the Pacific Island community in order that the Pacific Islands perspective and solutions can be articulated in a prominent global forum and also that the particular concerns of the region can be better addressed.
  • Encourage the science community to develop better and more effective communications strategies. For decades, scientists have assumed that providing scientific evidence is sufficient to inform opinions and motivate behavioral change, and yet this strategy has had limited success. It is therefore critical to recognize that while science is the best tool yet devised by humankind to answer fundamental questions about how the natural world works, science also operates within other spheres of meaning (cultural, social, economic, religious, political). As a result, scientists should recognize that the acquisition and communication of new knowledge alone is insufficient, since scientific results are interpreted through people’s pre-existing cultural and political biases. We strongly encourage greater involvement by social scientists and professional science communicators in the sharing of information toward a more collaborative engagement with multiple, diverse stakeholders.
  • Recognize that while improving scientific literacy remains essential, effective science now also involves engaging in a dialogue with the non-science community to help establish consensus on behaviors that are more consistent with sustainability principles. This mode of science research is not simply cross-disciplinary or even multi-disciplinary, but emphasizes trans-disciplinarity: communicating and collaborating with non-science stakeholders in various stages of the scientific process, incorporating indigenous and local understanding of natural phenomena as part of the solution to problems, and stressing how scientific research can be utilized by policymakers, resource managers, and other stakeholders.

The Organizers of the Inter-Congress recognize these issues of particular relevance to the Pacific Islands and recommend the following actions and approaches:

  • The main obstacles to sustainable development in the Pacific Islands include climate change, biodiversity loss, deterioration in equitable access to food and health security, and intensification of the environmental, social and economic impacts of extreme meteorological and natural hazard events. There is a consequential need for adaptation, innovative solutions, and building resilience.
  • The Pacific stands to be among the areas of the world most negatively affected by climate change. It is therefore critical that the Pacific Island community become more actively engaged and empowered in global discussions of climate change. Pacific Islanders have much to contribute to the understanding of climate change, in the entire range of contexts from physical to biological to cultural. While it is important for the Pacific to understand their region in the larger context of global change, it is essential to engage and organize communities to ensure that their voices are heard. This should involve people-centered actions and dialogues to establish networks that can enhance communities’ resilience to climate change, as well as more prominent advocacy in encouraging high-income nations to develop and deploy global scale negative-emissions energy technologies and strategies.
  • In the absence of urgent and effective mitigation and adaptation measures, the impacts of climate change on human health will be very significant. In order to address a critical data gap that inhibits robust and timely assessments of climate impacts on health, Pacific nations need to put a higher priority on the collection and open availability of high-quality climate and meteorological data and to support ongoing work by national meteorological agencies. It is also necessary to strengthen health information and surveillance systems for better decision-making for health adaptation, including a focus on local capacity-building in the analysis and use of existing information. Cross-sectional, trans-disciplinary research and knowledge sharing, including indigenous knowledge and participatory approaches is also important to encourage collaborative research and policy development and implementation at all scales from government to community level.  There is a critical need for new and additional financing and support in areas of human and financial resources, equipment, and technical expertise to implement existing climate and health policies. We strongly encourage the mainstreaming of climate change and health issues into formal curricula at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels in health and other training venues, and support the integration of climate change and health into existing and future legislation and development policies.
  • Addressing the loss of terrestrial, freshwater, marine, and agricultural biodiversity and ecosystem services remains critical to mitigate impacts on food, health, and energy security in the region. The loss of bio-cultural diversity is one of the main underlying threats to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity through the loss of effective resource management systems. Put another way, the loss of biodiversity undermines traditional cultural systems, and conversely, the erosion of cultural traditions weakens the basis of biodiversity protection.
  • The rapid urbanization in the Pacific Islands is linked to the region’s high rates of food and energy dependency and non-communicable disease. Given these factors, promoting poly-cultural urban and house yard gardening is an important way to help ensure food, health, and livelihood security as well as to help protect the provision of ecosystem services. More holistic approaches to Pacific Island development, which include the best modern science, both help maximize local resilience in the face of global change, and may also serve as potential models for food security and ecosystem resilience in other rural areas of the world.
  • The vast geographic distances of the Pacific and relatively high costs of transportation present an ongoing challenge to the participation of Pacific Islanders in international fora and to their desire to collaborate with international partners. However, rapid and ongoing advances in information technologies offer potential partial solutions to problems of distance and inclusion. The use of web-based collaboration tools can and should play a more important role in scientific collaboration across the region. The University of the South Pacific has developed impressive capabilities to link its distributed campuses using videoconferencing and other web-based tools, and we urge Pacific Island stakeholders to expand and engage in opportunities for technology-based distance collaboration.
  • Formal education, and especially tertiary education, in the Pacific region deserves increased attention and funding to build human resource capacity to support sustainable development and human security.
  • The pervasiveness of violence against women (VAW) in the Pacific region needs to be addressed by policymakers and communities. Evidence presented at the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress shows that while patterns and types of VAW differ between island countries and territories, VAW has significant short and long-term adverse consequences on women’s health. Evidence from research on VAW can be effectively used for policy and programs to prevent and address domestic violence in countries where such data exist. We reaffirm the Agreed Conclusions on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls adopted by the 57th Commission on the Status of Women (2013) and recognize the different forms and manifestations of violence against women, in different contexts, settings, circumstances and relationships, and that domestic violence, in particular violence by intimate partners, remains the most prevalent form that affects women of all social strata globally. We condemn all forms of violence against women and girls and explicitly ask stakeholders to refrain from invoking any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination as set out in the UN’s Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993). We acknowledges the important role of data collection on the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls and strongly endorse the need for better data collection and research on this topic in countries or areas that lack such data. We also support continued multidisciplinary research and analysis on the structural and underlying causes of, and cost and risk factors for, violence against women and girls and its types and prevalence, in order to inform the development and revision of laws and their implementation, policies and strategies, and make such information public to support awareness-raising efforts.
  • Taxonomic research provides critical tools for our basic understanding of biological diversity and for the effective management of natural resources. Traditional taxonomic approaches based on morphology are the foundation of our knowledge of life in the Pacific and remain important, but given the scope of the taxonomic endeavor and constrained budgets, new techniques will also be needed to discover and understand species that are small or microscopic, show few outward differences despite significant genetic divergence, are very rare, or inhabit poorly explored habitats. Innovations such as DNA barcoding and online access to digitized information about biological collections will be important additions to traditional taxonomic approaches. Pacific nations will need to train and retain taxonomists that are adept at an expanding range of approaches and open to international collaborations that will enhance their capabilities. PSA supports the strategy of creating international, open-source research frameworks in the Pacific that include: training of next-generation taxonomists with a broad range of skills; facilitating access to the most modern technologies for taxonomic research; promoting programs of research leading to species discovery and better understanding of population biology, fragility, and resilience in the Pacific; and productive collaborations between researchers and users of taxonomic data for applications that benefit the people of the Pacific.
  • Invasive alien species (IAS) remain a significant threat to native Pacific biodiversity, ecosystems, and human well-being and require urgent attention. The impacts of IAS alone and together with other global change stressors undermine human security and sustainable development, particularly on small islands. Pacific countries and territories are therefore encouraged to intensify research collaboration and management knowledge-sharing amongst themselves and with existing regional and international institutions, organizations and partnerships to better mitigate biosecurity threats and IAS impacts through the development and implementation of regional and national invasive species action plans.
  • There is a need for an enhanced focus on cooperative international action for the conservation and sustainable management of trans-boundary species that move in and around the Asia-Pacific Rim and Basin.
  • Illegal fishing poses a very significant threat to the sustainability of Pacific Island fisheries resources and undermines the region’s economies. Legal over-fishing also remains a considerable problem. Better regional and inter-institutional cooperation to develop, coordinate, and enforce science-based fisheries management plans is essential. Given the vast scope of Pacific Island seascapes, however, effective enforcement remains a great challenge. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs; aka unarmed, camera-equipped “drones”) are being deployed in other environmentally critical parts of the world to remotely monitor wildlife and help prevent wildlife poaching. We encourage Pacific Island stakeholders to investigate the potential of UAVs, in combination with real-time or near real-time satellite imagery, to cost-effectively monitor key fisheries resources for the many areas that are currently unpatrolled.
  • Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) occurs throughout the tropics and is associated with the degradation of coral reefs – in particular the transition (i.e., phase shift) from healthy reef to macroalgae-dominated reef. Consumption of contaminated seafood causes debilitating gastrointestinal, cardiac and neurological symptoms, and even death. The debilitating effects of this disease place an increased burden on coastal communities and national health services. Because of a lack of government attention, the true extent of ciguatera illness and impact on human communities and ecosystem health is still poorly understood, but there have been an estimated 500,000 poisonings across seventeen island nations in the last thirty years. The PSIC-12 endorses the Suva Declaration of 2002 on ciguatera, which includes the call for more effective reporting and research as a high priority for governments and research funders. We urge that this issue receives the urgent and full attention by international bodies (WHO, IOC/UNESCO, SCOR, IPHAB, WESTPAC, FAO, Pacific Forum), regional bodies (SPC, SPREP, FFA, Tuna Commission) and country and provincial governments in the region.
  • Integrated and ecosystem-based approaches that protect intact habitats and restore degraded habitats support essential ecosystem services should be encouraged. Such natural solutions deliver adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction – especially to the most at risk communities – and reduce vulnerability to primary risks such as flooding while maintaining intact habitats that provide the basis for long-term food security and sustainable development.
  • There is increasing evidence from ecological studies that island ecosystems are not always simply “fragile”, but also possess important elements of resilience that assist their ability to adapt to global change. PSA recognizes the work of the Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect Network (PABITRA) in advancing scientific knowledge of the Pacific Island ecosystems, enhancing local capacity and intra-regional collaboration, and integrating traditional knowledge and local expertise. A new, renewed phase of PABITRA would help identify the Pacific Island species and processes that maintain and enhance ecosystem resilience, and facilitate Pacific Island capacity to manage natural resources in response to global change pressures.

Compiled and edited by the PSA Council Resolutions Committee: Burke Burnett (PSA Executive Secretary), Chang-Hung Chou (PSA Vice President), Phil Cowan (PSA Council Delegate, New Zealand), Sang-Bok Han (PSA Council Delegate, Korea), and Kevin Johnson (PSA Council Delegate, USA).

Click here for a PDF version of the Official Resolutions of the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress.