The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) / German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) Regional Programme on Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region (CCCCPIR), in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Ecosystem based Adaptation (EbA) project implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Choiseul Provincial Government (CPG) completed a climate change vulnerability and adaptation (V&A) assessment of Choiseul Province in Solomon Islands on 5 September 2012.
The assessment covered all 14 wards of Choiseul Province with 27 villages visited. The team comprised representatives from several CPG divisions (Agriculture, Education, Environmental Health, Forestry and Works), The Nature Conservancy, Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community and Lauru Provincial Council of Women, and three students from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Youth Environment Programme (implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology).
Dr Melchior Mataki, CCCPIR Provincial Implementation Manager, said, 'The objectives of the V&A assessment were to assess the impacts and vulnerability of communities to climate change and to increase climate change awareness in local communities.' Dr Mataki added, 'The V&A assessment was a first step towards developing a pilot climate change adaptation programme based on an integrated and holistic province-wide approach. The approach promotes the active participation of various government agencies, development partners, non-government organisations and local communities to implement a reef-to-ridge (R-2-R) and EbA intervention in Choiseul province.'
Paul Donohoe, SPREP EbA Officer, said, 'Both the R-2-R and EbA approach focus on land and coastal and marine ecosystem connectivity, particularly around the services that these ecosystems provide for community livelihoods. Therefore, through understanding communities’ reliance on their land and sea areas, adaptation options are designed and implemented to build resilience so that these ecosystem services (i.e. freshwater, healthy soils, marine products, forests, etc.) are maintained and strengthened to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change now and into the future.'
The V&A study assessed the impacts of climate change and other non-climate change drivers such as population growth, unsustainable land use and logging, on land- and marine-based resources and community life in Choiseul. The complex interplay between climate and non-climate change drivers in rural communities were deciphered to point out possible adaptation actions under R-2-R and EbA approaches.
Most of the communities visited were hearing for the first time in-depth information on climate change and its implications on their lives. The V&A assessment team also learned from local communities how various climate change issues are affecting their lives.
The assessment noted that the overall impacts experienced were also affected by non-climate change factors. 'For example, the overall impacts of frequent and prolonged rainfall on food gardens’ productivity were also heightened by destruction caused by pigs (a recognised problem throughout Choiseul) and repeat gardening on the same plots of land, where the latter is a manifestation of increasing pressure for land as a result of population growth and other land uses,' said Dr Mataki.
Coastal erosion was observed to be heightened by the removal of mangroves, coastal trees and shrubs; the construction of ill-designed and ill-placed seawalls, groins and log ponds; and extreme non-climate change related events such as tsunamis. These impacts have direct and indirect effects on peoples’ livelihoods, and in all 27 communities, the effects are more often negative than positive.
The V&A assessment report is currently being drafted.
For more information, please contact Dr Melchior Mataki: