European Consortium for Pacific Studies

The fourth ECOPAS Newsletter is now available: Newsletter N°4

An overview of the pacific-studies.net framework and the context of its development is now available: Leaflet about pacific-studies.net (October 2015)

ECOPAS (European Consortium for Pacific Studies) is a multidisciplinary project designed to provide coordination and support to research and policy communities on issues connected to climate change and related processes in the Pacific Islands region, in order to define better options for sustainable development.

ECOPAS shared Pacific research's photo. ...

As Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop prepares a new white paper on foreign policy, strategic policy makers in Canberra are increasingly worried that their influence in the Pacific is diminishing, with the rise of new players in the region (though not so worried that they’d stop opening new coal mines in Queensland!) The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) – an Australian think tank funded by the Department of Defence – has issued a new research paper ‘Crowded and complex: The changing geopolitics of the South Pacific’ ASPI writes “Australia faces an increasingly crowded and complex geopolitical environment in the South Pacific. While the most important external powers in the region have traditionally been Australia, New Zealand, the US and France, a number of new powers are increasingly active, most notably China, Russia, Indonesia, Japan and India. South Pacific states, particularly Papua New Guinea and Fiji, are emerging as regional powers to constrain Australian influence. South Pacific states are also becoming more active on the international stage, further taking them outside Australia’s and their other traditional partners’ sphere of influence.” Crowded and complex: The changing geopolitics of the South Pacific www.aspi.org.au/publications/crowded-and-complex-the-changing-geopolitics-of-the-south-pacific/SR... Photo: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

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The Pacific is notable for the discrepancy between the contribution of its small economies to global climate change, and the severity of climate change effects experienced by its peoples. Linkages between research networks and policy interfaces will contribute to more context-sensitive EU external action, and will set a future research agenda for social science and humanities in the Pacific.

It is the first-ever network to develop extensive, durable collaboration between European and Pacific scholarly institutions, as well as between research institutions and local, national and international political agencies. While the emphasis of ECOPAS is on developing a long-term strategy for SSH research on the Pacific, strong links are also forged with climate research in the natural sciences.

Built on seven interrelated and complementary Work Packages, ECOPAS aims to define and strengthen the potential of European research in the Pacific by creating a platform and portal for knowledge exchanges, a long-term plan for capacity building, and a strategic plan for Pacific state and non-state involvement.

ECOPAS is hosted by four European university centres of excellence on Pacific research, in Norway, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (BPS – Bergen, CREDO – Aix-Marseille, CPS – St. Andrews and CPAS – Nijmegen), and by two major Pacific institutions (the University of the South Pacific – Fiji and the National Research Institute – Papua New Guinea).

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