Nature-based solutions for climate resilience and biodiversity conservation in the Pacific
The potential of Nature-based-Solutions (NbS) to contribute to climate change adaptation, while being widely recognized, has not been fully exploited yet. Over the past 20 years, less than 15 percent of the funds dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaptation at the global level were spent on NbS (Adaptation Gap Report 2020, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), January 2021). Here in the Pacific region as elsewhere, a gap persists, despite PICTs leaders’ commitment to join forces to increase regional coordination and integration* in this area. When it comes to action, inadequate funding coupled with the multiplicity of donors and projects involved, is hampering the optimisation of project design and implementation.
To progress on this, and tackle the critical impacts of the climate crisis and biological diversity loss, a new multi-stakeholder international initiative was launched for the Pacific at the 2017 Paris One Planet Summit by President of France Emmanuel Macron. Bringing together five donors for the first time around a common objective, the “Kiwa Initiative – Nature based solutions for climate resilience” was designed to provide simplified and flexible access to its funds for local and national authorities, civil society and regional organizations. A total of 35 million euros was mobilized so far for Kiwa to develop Nature-based Solutions which, as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), aim to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems and habitats that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits. Small, medium and large regional grants will be available to Pacific countries and territories along with tailormade technical assistance.
Our role in this initiative will be central. As a member of the Kiwa technical task force, SPC will make the most of its expertise and will mobilize its networks to support our eligible members (see list below) in identifying large-scale projects for the next call for projects to be launched later this year.
This opportunity will be key to fostering regional integration, with projects covering both Pacific Island countries, and French Pacific territories in which SPC has gained a substantial wealth of knowledge and experience over the past twenty years through the implementation of regional projects. It is also a chance to facilitate the exchange of innovative practices on the ground, and better engage with new partners.
Providing an original governance framework, the Kiwa Initiative reaffirms the importance of working collaboratively in the region and will help us maximise synergies with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), who have also joined this unprecedented effort.
By putting people at the heart of its priorities, the Kiwa initiative will help drive forward socially inclusive project implementation approaches at all levels. As those who depend the most on natural resources for their livelihoods are the ones that can guarantee long-lasting impact of biodiversity initiatives, they need to play a critical role here, right from the design phase. Living on the frontline of climate change, they will get another chance to raise their voices and develop solutions that are in harmony with their traditional knowledge and culture.
Let’s make sure they will be heard.