A team of environmental scientists from New Zealand is visiting North Efate over the next week to work with community leaders and environmental networks to plan vital climate change adaptation terrestrial activities.
It is part of the RESCCUE project, led by the Pacific Community (SPC), that is aiming to increase the climate resilience of Ni-Vanuatu communities and their local ecosystems.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt across Vanuatu, including sea-level rise, increased intensity of extreme events, and changes to agricultural productivity and water availability.
RESCCUE – or Restoration of Ecosystems Services and Adaptation to Climate Change – is a new project launched in Vanuatu at Emua in North Efate last month.
Its first stage is focusing on managing waste, wastewater and invasive species, such as big-leaf vine and fire ants, as well as restoring or rehabilitating ecosystems affected by both Tropical Cyclone Pam and human activities.
The visiting scientists will also be connecting with stakeholders involved in Vanuatu Government projects in North Efate, to identify how RESCCUE activities can align with the government’s work.
“Climate change is happening now and Vanuatu, like other Pacific Island nations, is particularly vulnerable to it,” ecologist Roger MacGibbon, one of the three visiting scientists, noted.
“It’s apparent, we have a big task ahead of us but I’m looking forward to the prospect of learning from those on the frontlines of the climate crisis about their own experiences, and exchanging knowledge to help shape practical solutions for North Efate,” Mr MacGibbon said.
The project is funded by the French Development Agency and the French Global Environment Facility, facilitated through the Vanuatu Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and coordinated by SPC.
The goals of the project in Vanuatu are to improve resilience to climate change through a method called ‘integrated coastal management’, which looks at all environmental systems as part of a whole. The RESCCUE project also will help develop economic and financial mechanisms to support coastal management in the long term.
The visiting scientists are collaborating with communities and community networks to develop an Action Plan of activities to implement on-the-ground, such as capacity building in natural resource monitoring and conservation, ways to manage rubbish such as plastic and cans, and strengthening efforts and resources in partnership with other existing environmental projects.
Another team will visit Vanuatu in May to work with project stakeholders to identify actions for marine components of RESCCUE, including reef conservation and protection and support for sustainable fisheries.
All RESCCUE initiatives need to address, and be consistent with, government policies and plans. The RESCCUE team aims to support the considerable work going ahead through the SHEFA Provincial Government, the Department of Fisheries, and the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation, to name a few.
Kylie Mullins, National Liaison, [email protected] /772 7356
RESCCUE Project: www.spc.int/resccue