Port Vila, Vanuatu – Approaches to planning and decision-making that use Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) and resilience-thinking provide a significant opportunity for small island developing states to address climate change threats while working to achieve other sustainable development goals. Vanuatu, through the second phase of the Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC+) Project, convened key national stakeholders in collaboration with the Vanuatu Department of Climate Change for the Inception Workshop to continue its efforts on EbA and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to climate change.
Department of Climate Change Director, Mr. Mike Waiwai said in his opening remarks, “We acknowledge the stakeholders present here today, your strong partnership plays a key role in making PEBACC+ project a success for Vanuatu. While we have disasters affecting us like tropical Cyclone Lola in Vanuatu currently, it gives us this opportunity to strengthen our collaboration and partnerships through ecosystem protection as a shield to our communities and islands from adverse impact of climate change and climate disaster.
He added, “You are experts in your various fields, and we value your support to make sure our people and communities are resilient and prepared during the time of disasters. There have been great success stories from the first phase of PEBACC that we can build on to ensure these EbA efforts continue to be sustainable. We look forward to a rich discussion at today’s inception workshop.”
PEBACC+ is a regional project implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and funded by the Kiwa Initiative and the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM). As the second phase rolls out, PEBACC+ aims to develop, sustain, and institutionalize the ecosystem-based approach to climate change adaptation.
PEBACC+ Vanuatu Country Coordinator, SPREP, Mr. William Bani said, “The PEBACC+ project in Vanuatu will build on from the first phase of PEBACC activities at Tagabe and Port Resolution on Tanna Island focusing on river riparian and catchment restoration and marine conservation respectively. And the new project site at Lenakel will support efforts to stabilize coastal and creek banks as well as greening the Lenakel municipality. These adaptation options were identified in the Ecosystem and Socio-economic Resilience Analysis and Mapping (ESRAM).”
ESRAM for Vanuatu, carried out under phase one of PEBACC, identified for Port Vila the need to replant and regenerate areas where mangroves and other important coastal tree species have been depleted, and implement policy to strengthen protection of mangrove habitat at the urban, provincial, and national level.
Mr. Bani said, “The ESRAM also identified the Tagabe River as a priority area, and it identified Port Resolution on Tanna Island as having extreme levels of risk from poor water quality, shoreline instability and tourist development, and high levels of risk from harvesting pressure. There was also indication that greater rainfall in the future could mean more runoff and increased impacts on the reef system.”
According to ESRAM, the six communities of Port Resolution Bay raised concern over erosion of the harbor’s cliffs and the depletion of fringing reef fish stocks. The people of Port Resolution live a conservative lifestyle, relying on their marine resources for nutrition and some income from visiting yachts.
The PEBACC+ project in collaboration with national stakeholders and partners will roll out activities to address these challenges. The Inception Workshop for Port Vila was held on Wednesday, 1 November 2023.
National stakeholders that were present included the Department of Climate Change, the Department of Forestry, Department of Fisheries, Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Live and Learn Vanuatu.
The PEBACC+ Project Inception Workshop for Tanna Island is scheduled for Tuesday, 7 November 2023 covering key partners working in Port Resolution and Lenakel.
PEBACC+ is a €5.8 million regional project implemented by SPREP and funded by the Kiwa Initiative through its donors the European Union, AFD, Global Affairs Canada, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), with co-financing from FFEM. This four-year project seeks to strengthen the resilience of ecosystems, economies, and communities to the impacts of climate change in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna. The project will develop, sustain, and institutionalise Ecosystem-based Adaptation to climate change in these five countries and territories.