Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) has appointed Rufino Varea as its new Regional Director.

Hailing from Oinafa Village in Rotuma, Rufino Varea brings extensive experience in marine ecotoxicology and environmental risk assessment to the role.

Varea’s career began with recognition as the inaugural recipient of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) – Development Research for Oceania Pipeline Award.

He also completed a prestigious Fellowship with the East-West Centre and the Pacific Islands Development Programme in Hawaii. His academic achievements include the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) Blue Charter Fellowship, during which he conducted research at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

In addition to his scientific work, Varea is a published author of numerous peer-reviewed research papers and book chapters. He has led various regional projects focusing on climate change and pollution.

He has also organised training and regional dialogues to support grassroots communities and government ministries in Pacific Island Countries.

Varea has also been involved in promoting the voices and concerns of youth and Indigenous Peoples through various platforms like the Indigenous Peoples Major Group and the Children and Youth Major Group under the United Nations Environment Programme, including the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change and YOUNGO under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.