A regional restoration of ecosystems services and climate change adaptation project aimed at increasing the resilience of Pacific Island countries and territories has started in the Kadavu and Ra provinces of Fiji.
The RESCCUE project, implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), is being piloted in seven sites across Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
The initiative, primarily funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), supports adaptation to climate change through integrated coastal management with special emphasis on the economic benefits of conserving ecosystems and setting up sustainable, innovative financial mechanisms for environmental management activities to continue after the project ends.
Restoring degraded ecosystems such as mangroves, supporting new or existing protected areas, helping communities enhance waste and waste water management and working together on sustainable financial solutions for such activities are examples of how RESCCUE will contribute to the resilience of Fijian people and ecosystems in the face of climate change.
“It is extremely rewarding to see operational activities starting and international funding benefiting directly the people most affected by climate change and biodiversity erosion,” said SPC’s RESCCUE Project Coordinator, Raphaël Billé.
Working in collaboration with SPC, the Fiji government’s Department of Environment and local communities, a consortium of partners are overseeing the implementation activities in Kadavu and Ra.
The consortium is led by the Institute of Applied Sciences at the University of the South Pacific (USP), in association with Landcare Research from New Zealand, Wildlife Conservation Society (Fiji Country Programme), Conservation International (Fiji Country Programme), and the Fiji Environment Law Association.
“The first step is to develop sound scientific and technical diagnoses that will set the foundations on which operational activities will be implemented. This includes accounting for lessons learnt from other projects having undertaken ecosystem-based adaptation measures in Fiji in recent years,” said RESCCUE consortium team leader in Fiji, Dr Isoa Korovulavula from USP’s Institute of Applied Sciences.
“Our priority with RESCCUE is to bring tangible changes to the Kadavu and Ra provinces so that local communities become more resilient to climate change by better managing their environment.”