U.S. Embassy Celebrates Launch of New Climate Change Adaptation Project in Gabagaba (May 24, 2016)

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: U.S. Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray visited Gabagaba village today to inaugurate the new rainwater catchment systems constructed through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Coastal Community Adaptation Project (C-CAP).

Working in partnership with USAID, Gabagaba community members have taken great strides to mitigate this risk by installing the new catchment systems that increase the village’s rainwater storage capacity by 108,000 liters, allowing for at least one additional week of drinking water storage during times of drought.

In speaking to the community, Ambassador Ebert-Gray recognized the climate-related impacts the village is experiencing and expressed the U.S. Government’s continuing commitment to work with governments and communities to address the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

“Through USAID programs like C-CAP, the U.S. Government and the American people are contributing to the resilience of communities like Gabagaba to help during these climate-driven events.” said Ambassador Ebert-Gray.

Water security has historically been a challenge for the community, and it is being exacerbated by salt water intrusion and prolonged droughts.  Climate change projections indicate that these issues are likely to become more intense. The past year has been particularly challenging for the community due to El Niño, which is on track to rank as one of the strongest in history. Within the Pacific Islands region, PNG has been the hardest hit.  Over the past year, rainfall has been below average across PNG, contributing to water and food security challenges that the government estimates to have impacted 2.7 million people – more than a third of the country’s population.

Gabagaba’s ongoing water security challenges, the impact of El Niño, and recognition of climate change projections led the community to prioritize water security for its USAID-funded climate change adaptation project.

USAID C-CAP builds the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities in the Pacific Island region to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.  Activities include rehabilitating and constructing new, small-scale community infrastructure and building capacity for disaster prevention and preparedness.