On a transparent day, Soliyaga, a centuries-old Fijian village on Beqa Island, captivates with breathtaking beauty. The village’s 26 houses are nestled into several acres of flat land between Beqa’s mountainous interior and a deep bay. But this idyllic calm belies the village’s increasingly cloudy future.
Residents have long relied on the land and ocean to sustain their livelihoods. Beqa’s interior is abundantly fertile, enabling villagers to cultivate staples of the Fijian food plan, comparable to cassava, dalo, coconuts and pineapple. They sell them to nearby resorts or within the Navua and Suva markets, an hour away by boat. From the bay, villagers collect fish, crabs, prawns and other marine animals.
Soliyaga’s setting has all the time left it vulnerable to weather and climate events. Tropical rains can cascade down the mountains and inundate the village. At high tide, Soliyaga has no visible beach, making it vulnerable to storm surge. Historically, Soliyaga would experience a handful of flooding or cyclone events every couple of years — not ideal, but manageable.
Along with resilience, the strategy also covers mitigation.
In recent times, though, such flood events have turn out to be more frequent and intense. Inland flooding or storm surge occur multiple times a 12 months, damaging and destroying houses. The ocean has noticeably risen and threatens the village’s water supply and soil. Fishing spots, once plentiful, have turn out to be more unpredictable as warmer, more acidic waters disrupt the marine ecosystem.
Villagers have tried to adapt. They built canals to divert inland floodwaters around the skin of the village, in addition to a sea wall. However the canals still allow seawater to flow into the village, and the ocean wall is already cracking.
Soliyaga is hardly alone in these challenges: Villages similar to it throughout Fiji and other island nations face similar escalating threats from climate change. But unlike many other countries, Fiji has a blueprint for shielding vulnerable communities comparable to Soliyaga.
Climate finance for vulnerable communities
Almost every country on this planet has a policy or plan for climate motion. Not all of them actually match the severity of the issue. Fewer still offer a plan for financing the actions crucial for a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.
That is where Fiji stands out. As a part of its ongoing partnership with the Fijian Climate Change and International Cooperation Division (CCICD), WRI’s Finance Center helped develop a National Climate Finance Strategy for Fiji. The strategy pinpoints projects best suited to guard the country’s at-risk communities.
Unlike most other countries’ climate-related plans, the strategy is predicated on an evaluation of how much money the country will need to satisfy its climate goals, which projects are already receiving financial support and which climate priorities are underfunded. It was created through widespread consultation with nearly all of Fiji’s government ministries and development partners.
The strategy is aligned with Fiji’s recently enacted Climate Change Act, which declares a climate emergency and commits the country to decarbonize by 2050. The strategy also provides an in depth roadmap in Fiji’s negotiations with climate finance providers comparable to the Green Climate Fund, a multibillion fund that channels climate finance from developed nations to developing ones. Before they’ll comply with finance a project, many funders appreciate a consultative-based strategy that demonstrates country ownership over climate priorities. The depth and breadth of Fiji’s National Climate Finance Strategy is designed to satisfy this need and provides the Fijian government additional leverage in conversations with development partners.
A have a look at Fiji’s national climate finance strategy
Greater than 40 percent of Fiji’s climate spending comes from international funders; the remaining is from the Fijian government. The National Climate Finance Strategy identifies 12 economic sectors in need of adaptation and decarbonization, from agriculture to water and sanitation.
A blueprint for constructing resilience in Fiji
For instance, one project included within the strategy is the early-warning One Pacific Program. This program would gather relevant climate data; develop multi-hazard monitoring, prediction and projection services; and expand the real-time communication systems of the 14 Pacific Island nations. Sophisticated early-warning systems can provide more targeted and actionable warnings to distant villages comparable to Soliyaga — a decisive difference that offers residents time to secure their belongings and retreat to safety before impending disasters reach the shore. The Fijian government is working with several technical partners and their regional counterparts to finalize the project and secure funding.
Certainly one of the highest priorities within the strategy’s blue economy sector is expanding the Ministry of Waterways’ coastal erosion protection works program, which protects coastal Fijian villages against sea level rise, storm surges and other climate-related impacts. The ministry’s priority under this system is to construct nature-based seawalls, which mix mangroves, boulders from the villages, and vetiver grass to shelter coastal communities and stop coastal erosion or relocation. The ministry received requests for assistance from no less than 121 communities for these seawalls — a number that grows monthly — but lacks funding to construct most of them.