September 16, 2013 by admin
16 September 2013, Pacific Environment Forum, Apia, Samoa - People and local communities are paramount in the 'Ridge to Community to Reef' concept used in a project to help the Choiseul Province in the Solomon Islands increase their resilience against climate change and natural disasters.
This was one of the lessons shared at the third Pacific Environment Forum in Apia, Samoa. The one day event brought together Pacific environment stakeholders to discuss natural solutions for building resilience to climate change.
The Choiseul Integrated Climate Change Programme uses natural solutions integrated with other actions in fisheries, agriculture and management planning. The Ecosystem based Adaptation component is being implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and funded by USAID in collaboration with other development partners.This project also aims at enhancing food security and strengthening the resilience of natural ecosystems.
Dr. Melchior Mataki, Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry for Environment,
Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology.
"Through this extension of the ridge to reef approach we are giving importance to the communities and ensuring that we do not lose sight of the needs of the people as they are at the forefront and are the ones that make decisions or take actions that can negatively or positively impact the natural environment," said Dr Melchior Mataki, the Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology.
His was one of several presentations on lessons learnt in implementing the EbA approaches at the Pacific Environment Forum today.
Natural solutions for building resilience to climate change - an integrated ecosystem approach is the theme of the third Pacific Environment Forum coordinated by SPREP. Ecosystem based Adaptation recognises the importance of intact ecosystems in providing protection and resilience of communities to climate change.
All communities in Choiseul are coastal. The terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems they depend on are closely linked by the relatively small catchment areas that connect the mountains, coastline and ocean. Ridge to community to reef planning integrates multiple sectors including agriculture, forestry and fisheries in order to protect what communities rely upon for their livelihoods and help keep ecosystems healthy to reduce vulnerability.
According to Dr Mataki, while this partnership programme has just started with the signing of a partnership in January this year, this is a project that has potential for real success; a vital ingredient being the ownership of the local community.
"We have had to identify EbA within the context of the problems they face, instead of telling them about EbA and that they should be doing this, we have provided them with real examples of where strong habitats have helped strengthen coastlines. We see EbA solutions through their perspective and internalise it within the issues they face so it becomes a way of life for them. This way, once the project is over, the community themselves will help sustain it."
The Choiseul Integrated Climate Change Programme partners are: Secretariat of the Pacific Community; Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme; Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program; The Nature Conservancy, and the United Nations Development Program.
For more information on the Choiseul Integrated Climate Change Programme, please contact Mr. Paul Donohoe, SPREP's Ecosystem-based Adaptation Officer - [email protected] or visit www.sprep.org