US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced the availability of $20 million in funding to help strengthen climate resilience in the Native Hawaiian community.
The funding will support the US Department of the Interior’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations’ new Kapapahuliau Climate Resilience Program, which will provide Native Hawaiian organizations with resources to navigate the effects of climate change.
The funding is provided through the Inflation Reduction Act, which Senator Hirono helped pass into law in 2022. The funding follows the Biden-Harris Administration’s release of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report assessing the science of climate change in the US, its impacts, and options for reducing present and future risk, including specific impacts on Hawaiʻi and US-Affiliated Pacific Islands.
“Compared to the rest of the country, Hawaiʻi is unique in many ways- our food, our communities, our local culture- and the climate challenges we face are no exception,” said Hirono. “Sea level rise, higher land and ocean temperatures, and invasive species all present serious challenges to our islands.”
The Office of Native Hawaiian Relations will be hosting two 120-minute virtual pre-proposal informational sessions on Nov. 29 and Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. HST to provide an overview of the Kapapahuliau Program and address questions for interested applicants. The deadline to apply for funding is Feb. 29.
“By making $20 million available specifically for Native Hawaiian Organizations, this new program reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting indigenous communities’ needs, values, and priorities. Environmental stewardship is an important part of Native Hawaiian culture, so I’m glad that this funding will be available to support the community’s efforts to combat the effects of climate change and strengthen climate resilience,” Hirono continued.