USP assists in Climate Change Adaptation Project in Solomon Islands

A project supported by The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) saw the recent launch of a new Climate Change Adaptation (C-CAP) Project in Lilisanai, Malaita, Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands is one of the island countries under the Coastal-Community Adaptation Project (C-CAP), along with Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. 

USP Project Community Liaison Officer, Teddy Fong said their PaCE-SD Community Coordinators continue to play an important role in mobilising communities in support of C-CAP activities in the nine (9) countries that the project is engaged in.

“In the Solomon Islands, our staff assisted with risk mapping and infrastructure prioritisation exercises so that the communities’ most important priorities were ascertained.

“Water was reflected very high among their most immediate needs,” Mr Fong explained.

“Our Community Coordinator, Vivolyn Stanley, also led workshops that established community disaster management plans in all ten communities on Malaita,” he added.

Her Excellency Ms Catherine Ebert-Gray, the United States Ambassador to the Solomon Islands, led the inauguration of the rainwater harvesting infrastructure on 20 October, 2016.

HE Ms Ebert-Gray was joined by Honourable Peter Chanel Ramohia, Premier of Malaita Province, Mr Malachai Bate’e and Mr Pearson Simi of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services.

USP, with support from USAID began working with communities in 2014 through the C-CAP project.

Following vulnerability assessments and raising awareness about climate change projections, community members identified increased access to clean water as their priority need for climate change adaptation.

Lilisiana and nine other communities: Kwai, Ngongosila, New Kaloaka, North Dala, South Dala, Fiu, Buma, Radefasu and Oibola have faced increased stress on water resources over the past decade. 

Rainwater tanks and small streams are the only prominent source of water on the island, and population pressure and drought cause challenges with access to potable water.

USAID and USP, through C-CAP partnered with each community to design and build four rainwater harvesting systems that are graded to withstand Category 5 Tropical Cyclone conditions for a total of 40 systems across the Province.  Once all structures are complete, water storage capacity will be increased by 400,000 liters on Malaita helping community members’ access clean water during drought or other adverse weather conditions.

“The United States Government is pleased to have worked closely with you on this project to increase your resilience to the impacts of climate change. The U.S. Government remains a committed partner in creating a more climate-resilient future, and improving the quality of life for all,” said Ambassador Ebert-Gray. 

Through the five-year implementation of the C-CAP, USAID is helping build the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities in the Pacific Island region; with increased capacity for climate-smart decision-making.

Communities will then be positioned to adapt to the short and longer term effects of climate change.

C-CAP is building community resilience to climate change in the Pacific region by: rehabilitating and constructing new, small-scale community infrastructure; and building capacity for community engagement for disaster prevention and preparedness.