The Pacific Island Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC) is a partnership among 29 government agencies and non-governmental organizations whose “…purpose is to assist those who manage native species, island ecosystems and key cultural resources in adapting their management to climate change for the continuing benefit of the people of the Pacific Islands”. The mission of PICCC is “…to improve the ability of native island species and ecosystems to accommodate future climate change and related perturbations, and support the long-term protection of key cultural resources by providing useful projections of climate and natural resource change in the Pacific Islands, innovative management options, and a membership that supports coordinated action among institutional and community stakeholders”. As part of a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, PBRC provides fiscal and administrative support and coordination of the PICCC program.
The US Department of Agriculture supported efforts by PBRC faculty to organize an international workshop in Honolulu on all aspects of Rat Lungworm Disease, an emerging infectious disease caused by a nematode parasite that uses snails and slugs as its intermediate host. Rats are the definitive hosts but humans become infected by ingesting infected snails or slugs. The disease can lead to long term neurological damage, coma, and death. The workshop convened scientists and clinicians from regions and countries as far apart as Brazil, China, Jamaica, Taiwan, Thailand, mainland USA, and Hawai‘i, with expertise in a range of fields including parasitology, ecology, food safety, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment. Following the workshop PBRC faculty organized five public informational forums, one each on the islands of Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i, in collaboration with UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Hilo’s College of Pharmacy, the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hilo Medical Center, and Kapi‘olani Medical Center.
The Association of Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL) enlisted PBRC as a host for a past meeting of its key officers to discuss bridging science to policy. Most recently, PBRC helped draft a resolution on climate change, which passed the APIL General Assembly in June 2012. A PBRC faculty member has routinely supported such efforts and is presently working on a more institutionalized program for communicating relevant science to this key group of regional policy makers.
The Council of Micronesian Chief Executives (CMCE) enlisted PBRC to provide advice on a variety of environmental and fisheries-related issues including the development of resolutions and legislation on climate change, fisheries, and environmental impacts of activities.
The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force All Islands Committee (Pacific and Caribbean) enlisted a PBRC faculty member to serve as the Science Advisor to the All Islands Committee of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, which helps to write policy and legislation that serves the scientific needs of the seven Pacific and Caribbean jurisdictions. The PBRC faculty member helped author the Coral Reef Conservation Act re-authorization that has been introduced recently in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources of the Government of American Samoa enlisted the assistance of PBRC faculty to run a training course in Pago Pago to teach its staff the skills to identify native and introduced snails and slugs in American Samoa. A photographic field guide to the snails and slugs of the Samoan Islands is being produced in collaboration with the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources.