BEST PRACTICE IN:
Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) of Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS), University of the South Pacific (USP)
Department of Environment, Fiji,Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission, Suva capital city, Fiji
Australian Government's Overseas Aid Program (AusAID); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (Monitoring and Evaluation (MandE) component)
In 2006, USP and the Fiji Department of Environment secured funding from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to implement a pilot project on climate change adaptation in six rural communities focusing on the coastal zone and its ecosystems and water resources. The project implementation began in 2007 and concluded in June 2010. Phase II of the project has been initiated since August 2010 for a further three-year period.
This project focused on six rural communities with emphasis on coastal areas and water resources, which are vulnerable to ongoing climate change and important for the livelihood of rural communities.
• Enhanced understanding of climate change impacts and adaptation through community level planning and capacity building; and
• Improved resilience of target communities to impacts of climate variability and climate change
• Enhanced community awareness about climate change impacts and adaptation;
• Increased local capacity to assess and address climate change impacts and adaptation at the community level;
• Climate change adaptation mainstreamed and internalised at the community level; and
• Effective discrete, cross-cutting and process-based adaptation measures implemented under coastal areas and water resources.
This project was a culmination of tripartite discussions involving USP (PACE-SD and IAS), AusAID (Fiji) and the Fiji Department of Environment. The consensus reached in these discussions was to implement adaptation measures at the community level, and utilise findings from previous climate change vulnerability assessment reports, without compromising the need to ascertain the adaptation measures against current and future vulnerabilities at each specific community earmarked for the project. Moreover, the adaptation measures were to be aligned with national and community priorities. The draft Fiji Climate Change Policy paper prepared by the Department of Environment summarised the major findings from previous assessment reports (e.g. Pacific Islands Climate Change Adaptation Project - PICCAP, Fiji National Communication for UNFCCC, and the PICCAP Fiji Country Team Report to the World Bank). It summed up the adaptation issues and measures identified in these reports and more importantly outlined the strategies to guide its implementation.
Two of the Climate Change Policy’s strategies, which are directly aligned with this project’s objectives, were: (i) Promote soft solutions/methods to address climate change problems through community participation in seminars and activities like reforestation; and (ii) Provide external training to improve and raise public understanding through workshops to promote community stakeholder participation.
The sectors identified in the draft Fiji Climate Change Policy as being most vulnerable to climate change are (i) agriculture; (ii) coastal zone; (iii) public health; and (iv) water resources.
The above sectors are therefore the foci for adaptation at the national and local levels. This project focused on rural communities with emphasis on coastal areas and water resources, which are vulnerable to ongoing climate change and important for the livelihood of rural communities. The main outcome of the VandA assessment process was the identification of possible community-based adaptation options. The list of adaptation options for each community was incorporated into each site’s information sheet. These options were further discussed and modified via the project management and project advisory committee meetings. An estimated costing of each option was calculated and discussed through a participatory process with the relevant stakeholders and communities.
The participatory process of assessing the various adaptation options used the following criteria:
• acceptability by the community;
• costing in relation to the funding capacity of the project (achievability); and
• capacity of community for maintaining the adaptation measures or interventions.
Once the options were selected, a more detailed adaptation activity plan for each project site was then formulated during the adaptation planning workshop. These involved listing the various activities, the people responsible for them (community, USP, and contractor) and the timeframe for carrying out each of the activities. These plans were continually updated during the course of the project as new information came into light or certain activities were altered either due to technical or financial constraints.
• Enhanced awareness about climate change impacts and adaptation;
• Compilation and synthesis of existing climate change awareness raising materials;
• Climate Change Awareness Raising Workshops;
• Design a simplified VandA methodology drawing from CVandA and other established VandA methodologies;
• Train the communities to apply the simplified VandA methodology;
• Prepare and implement two Master’s thesis project proposal;
• Effective discrete, crosscutting and process-based adaptation measures implemented under coastal areas and water resources; and
• Implement the identified discrete and process-based adaptation measures.
• Proper project management system and coordination setups are essential;
• Proper community-based awareness and training is essential;
• Community leadership or management system plays an important role in project implementation and uptake;
• Community involvement and engagement is essential for success and sustainability of the adaptation initiative;
• Support from outside groups is essential;
• Information about climate change and adaptation needs to be disseminated and shared; and
• Long-term monitoring, maintenance and evaluation are needed.
• Site selection by the Project Site selection committee
Community awareness activities on climate change:
• Climate change handouts;
• Community workshops;
• Climate change awareness kit in Fijian language; and
• Vulnerability and Adaptation (VandA) assessments.
Professor Patrick Nunn
Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD)
Tel: +679 323 2895
Limalevu, L., 2010. Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Communities in Fiji (CCA) Project-final Project Report. PACE-SD, USP, Suva.