A five-year action plan released today for the Many Strong Voices project links research and advocacy and outlines how to improve the skills and knowledge, and support the efforts of people in the areas suffering the most from climate change. The action plan coincides with the re-launch of the project website http://www.manystrongvoices.org.

Work on Many Strong Voices was funded over the last 14 months primarily by the Norwegian government. Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim stated today that “The Small Island Developing States are among the hardest hit by climate change. We need to work with them and other partners to ensure that we have the best available information on climate change and share experience on adaptation. This programme is an excellent example of how scientists and local communities can work together to enhance our common knowledge base”.

Norwegian government funding has been instrumental in securing support from a number of private foundations over the last year.

With input from participants in more than 16 Arctic and island countries, the action plan includes plans to push for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It also details an assessment of how SIDS could adapt to climate change, learning from Arctic work, plus a plan to inform and warn the world of the dramatic effects of climate change in their regions.

Report contributor Ilan Kelman from the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO) said “By ensuring a strong scientific basis for this work which is balanced with local knowledge, those most in need of help for climate change can be certain of acting on the best information available”.

Many Strong Voices project coordinator John Crump from UNEP/GRID-Arendal added: “One of the key messages of Many Strong Voices is that changes in the Arctic and island regions have implications for the rest of the world. The kinds of changes and choices these vulnerable regions of the world face are harbingers for what is to come for the rest of the planet.”

John Crump
Polar Issues Co-ordinator, UNEP/GRID-Arendal (Ottawa)
E-mail: john.crump@grida.no
Cell: +1 613 255 3840

Ilan Kelman
Senior Research Fellow, CICERO (Oslo)
E-mail: ilan.kelman@cicero.uio.no
Cell: +47 4101 1951
Website: http://www.manystrongvoices.org