A representative from the University of the South Pacific and the Secretariat of the Pacific launched the training on Thursday.
Dr Hemstock says the European Union Pacific Technical and Vocational Educational Training on Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Adaptation (PACTVET Project) needs to be accepted and pioneered here.
She says the project has been well received in other parts of the Pacific.
The project is component three within the broader regional 10th European Development Fund’s Adapting to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (ACSE) programme.
It builds on the recognition that energy security and climate change are major issues that are currently hindering the social, environmental and economic development of Pacific African Caribbean and Pacific (P-ACP) countries.
Hemstock says while there are promising renewable energy opportunities, about seven million people out of the region’s 10 million still do not have access to electricity.
“Additionally, the Pacific Region is among the most vulnerable to climate change,” she says. The general objective of this project is therefore to enhance sustainable livelihoods.
The purpose is also to enhance or create P-ACPs' regional and national capacity, and technical expertise, to respond to climate change adaptation (CCA) and sustainable energy (SE) challenges.
The project is being implemented by SPC in partnership with USP over 53 months from August 2014 and as an overall budget of EUR 6.1 million
During this first six months in the Cook Islands, the project has begun to contribute to improving the capacity of the region to respond to CCA challenges by embarking on stakeholder identification and a Training Needs and Gap Analysis (TNGA).
There has also been development of competencies for qualifications in climate change and sustainable energy subject areas.
One of the key barriers to improving P-ACP countries’ energy security status and resilience to climate change impacts is the lack of local and regional capacity and expertise - the results of the absence of sustainable training programmes and of trained staff and well-resourced and equipped training institutions to deliver programmes.
This project is hoping to improve this situation by working closely with TVET providers and trainers locally.