Collaborative centre born from professor’s vision to keep island homelands afloat

Professor Paresh Kumar Narayan, Impact Labs
Professor Paresh Kumar Narayan, Impact Labs

Centre born from professor’s vision to keep his island homelands afloat

Having grown up in Fiji, Professor Paresh Narayan has experienced climate change first-hand, so it was only natural he wanted to use his extensive economics expertise to make a difference in the South Pacific.

His vision was to bring Monash University principles to Pacific island countries to provide leadership and work with governments, local institutions, and policymakers to help the region become more resilient and better able to mitigate the effects of climate change on consumers and consumer welfare.

“I wanted to provide leadership and focus on climate change with a research centre that isn’t based in a developed country, but a developing one and built on the foundations of collaboration,” Prof Narayan says.

And so, the Pacific Action on Climate Transitions (PACT) was born – a research centre collaboration between Monash University and Fiji National University, bridging the gap between climate change science and business and economic resilience and adaptation.

“It’s a very proud moment for me as a Pacific Islander, as a Fijian, to see this partnership come to fruition.”

“For Monash to go into Fiji and shake hands with a small university on a global subject signifies the importance that Monash places on climate change as a global challenge for not only Pacific island countries, but global citizens,” Prof Narayan says.

“This is of course consistent with Monash's Impact 2030 strategic plan, which identifies climate change as one of the three main objectives that the university wants to work on,” he says.

“It’s a very proud moment for me as a Pacific Islander, as a Fijian, to see this partnership come to fruition.”

There has already been a strong positive reaction to the centre in Fiji with institutions, citizens, policymakers, civil society, development partners and donors wanting to be involved in the research projects.

“This is the first research centre in the world that focuses on business and economics, as opposed to the science of climate change, which we very well understand,” Prof Narayan says.

Dr Narayan hopes PACT will remain Pacific-based and will be led by Pacific Islanders, symbolising the identity of local research which works to make local communities resilient, sustainable and progressive.

“PACT has huge potential to become a centre for research excellence globally and allow the Pacific Islands to lead a lot of policy discussions and provide leadership within the International Climate Change Forum.”