Photo: SPC's Programme Leader for Genetic Resources Logotonu Meleisea Waqainabete in the CePaCT lab.
The Pacific Community (SPC)'s Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) has won the 2022 Island Innovation award for Innovative Island Research. The award, given by Island Innovation, a global network that connects island stakeholders through digital communication and events, was presented to CePaCT in a ceremony held in April 2022. CePaCT is managed under SPC’s Land Resources Division Genetic Resources programme.
The Island Innovation Awards partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative to recognize individuals, organizations and projects driving positive change for remote and island communities globally. There were 12 award categories judged by a Jury, with the focus of the awards on sharing the how of success from the winners, so other communities may benefit.
Logotonu Meleisea Waqainabete, Programme Leader for Genetic Resources, stated in her acceptance speech that CePaCT’s work is now more important than ever, considering the impact of disruptions such as COVID-19, as well as Pacific islands nations and peoples ongoing challenges through being on the frontlines of climate change.
As the Pacific’s main genebank, CePaCT works to ensure efficient long-term conservation of a broad range of genetic diversity of key crops and tree species of the Pacific region and facilitates their effective utilization through the safe distribution of plant material across borders. CePaCT’s research provides critical support for the two SPC flagship programmes of climate change resilience and food systems transformation.
CePaCT is currently expanding its capacity to transform into a resource for agricultural excellence for SPC and its country and community partners. In April this year, it opened two new facilities – a molecular laboratory and quarantine greenhouse. The molecular laboratory will allow CePaCT to offer a pathogen diagnostic and genotyping service to the Pacific, while the greenhouse will support germplasm health testing of CePaCT collections, as well crop regeneration and receipt of new plant imports – all vital services for a rapidly changing plant and agriculture landscape in the region.
Waqainabete concluded that the Innovative Island Research honour will give CePaCT the momentum to ensure genetic diversity and strengthen the resiliency of food systems so that livelihoods are secure and Pacific peoples are fed food that is safe and nutritious. The award will continue to advance CePaCT’s work as SPC partners with Pacific communities to face climate change and build a food-secure future for the region.