Planning for ecosystem-based adaptation in the Pacific island countries

Synthesis Reports

Other Author(s): Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme

The Challenge

Pacific island countries and territories are highly vulnerable to climate change. In the next few decades, these countries will face increasing threats to sustainable development from climate change impacts on: marine and terrestrial ecosystems, human health, infrastructure, coastal resources, fresh water availability, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism. High levels of connectedness between the socioeconomic and biophysical environments make it important that adaptation strategies include a strong focus on the management of natural ecosystems. Ecosystem-based adaptation is an approach for building community resilience to climate change by investing in the maintenance of the ecosystem functions and services that are dependent on for survival. The Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change project provides Pacific Island stakeholders with ecosystem-based policy, planning, and implementation support, and is funded by the German government.

The Approach

Multiple partners brought together a detailed series of technical reports prepared for the Pacific Ecosystem-based adaptation by a number of academic, research and technical institutes, along with stakeholder engagement. Local communities and stakeholders were engaged throughout the process to map ecosystem types; define key ecosystem functions and services; identify possible threats to these ecosystem services; identify and prioritize possible ecosystem-based adaptation projects to improve ecosystem health and increase community resilience; and develop an implementation plan for the selected ecosystem-based adaptation projects.

The Institute’s Tim Carruthers worked with a team of science communicators on taking the wealth of information generated by the work and synthesizing it into a succinct report for each location to provide an overview of the first seven steps involved to identify, prioritize, and implement these projects in Honiara, Solomon Islands; Port Vila, Vanuatu; and Taveuni, Fiji.