Country

Fiji

Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Fiji.

Adaptation

Resilience to environmental and climate hazards has been a historical part of Fiji’s way of life for centuries. However, climate change is exacerbating and creating new environmental and climate hazards to which communities are unable to cope. Fiji is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change (National Adaptation Plan Framework, 2017). As climate change impacts worsen, Fiji will experience greater extreme events such as floods and droughts and more intense cyclones. Warming oceans and acidification are leading to coral reef bleaching events with negative implications for biodiversity and livelihoods. Sea level rise has already led to the relocation of villages and threatens many more. If Fiji is to achieve the objectives and targets set out in its new National Development Policy (NDP) (2017) then it must adapt. Fiji has long been undertaking efforts to identify vulnerabilities to climate change. The first National Climate Change Policy was released in 2012, and now a new policy is being created. In Fiji, the NAP is seen as the process of implementing the adaptation component of the new National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) (2017).

Key Adaptation Policies & Reports

Adaptation Options for Key Sectors

  • Introduction of salt tolerant species: Increased soil salinity will be the most important agricultural problem in the vulnerable areas; salt tolerant varieties of current crops (swamp taro, breadfruit and banana) should be sourced; otherwise new salt tolerant crops should be introduced.
  • Introduction of heat tolerant crops: The current sources of vegetables for FSM are mostly European cool vegetables such as cabbages, tomatoes, potatoes, etc; with the expected temperature increases as part of climate change, there is a need to introduce heat tolerant vegetable crops both for domestic consumption and for potential export.
  • Improved Pest and Disease Management: Climate change will create a new pest and disease regime, and therefore the need to develop improved pest and disease management programs.
  • Crop Research: There is a need also to invest in agricultural research aiming at developing crop management strategies for the future climate conditions.
  • Restoration of Degraded Lands: Sea-level rise will result in land degradation; this implies the need for a degraded land restoration policy to restore lands for such purposes as agriculture.
  • Farm Relocation: Sea level rise will result in flooding and inundation of some farmlands; these farms should be relocated to locations still fit for farming.

 

  • Implement energy efficiency and conservation measurements and including more environmentally sound renewable energy sources that are locally available.
  • Increase the share of renewable energy sources to at least 30% of total energy by 2020, and increase energy efficiency will increase by 50%.
  • There is also a need to plant more trees to provide a sustainable supply of timber, tree crops and forest habitat, and to protect the best tree planters, namely fruit bats and birds (FSM Department of Forestry, 2010). 
  • There is a need to turn forestry from a small Government agency into a community concern. Forestry agencies can assist communities in developing and implementing quality projects.
  • There are three needs for capacity building in Forestry. Forestry staff currently find it difficult to both carry out work under performance based budgets as well as to accommodate such additional programs and visitors. A second need in capacity development is for training relevant to work at hand. Forestry agencies are interested in opportunities for scholarships to develop forestry professionals, internships and relevant training resulting in certification in needed skills. The third need in capacity development is to assist communities in understanding environmental issues and in developing and implementing quality projects (FSM Department of Forestry, 2010).
  • Vector-borne and water-borne diseases and malnutrition represent the most serious climate-sensitive health risks to FSM. 
  • There is a lack of recent, high-quality, peer-reviewed public and environmental health research in FSM and the Micronesian region, including research into the health impacts of climate change. 
  • Available health data are incomplete. The process of data recording, collection and analysis needs significant improvement in FSM.
  • Human resources in health information systems, biostatistics, epidemiology and public health need to be increased. This requires recruitment of new staff, training and up-skilling of current staff. 
  • Effective project management and implementation of climate change and health projects will require high-level buy-in, cross-sectoral cooperation and inter-agency support.
  • As developing industries, including food production, fisheries and the emerging tourism sector continue to use greater amounts of water., good governance of the resource is essential for public health standards to be maintained and for the unique biodiversity and environments of FSM to be protected.
  • The water management issues that are common across FSM include the contamination by human and livestock waste that is discharged into water bodies, issues with land access making enforcement difficult, the complexity of a three tier Government, the great geographic spread of the populated islands in FSM, as well as the limited capacity and technical expertise of the water sector in FSM (Johnston, 2012).
  • In many of the islands, there are no appropriate actions or policy to protect and safeguard watershed and groundwater resources, which poses a threat due to the rapid population growth on the main islands. On the outer islands, there are no piped water systems and the residents rely exclusively on individual rainwater catchments and dug wells. The standard of construction and maintenance of these facilities varies considerably from island to island (Johnston, 2012).

Gaps and Needs

  • Significant information data gaps hamper comprehensive planning. For example, water management suffers from a lack of adequate hydraulic modeling and calculations of sustainable yield. Atoll aquifer systems are poorly understood and there is little knowledge of what sustainable groundwater withdrawal rates are appropriate from one island to the next, as well as among the main islands. Rates of coastal erosion are not measured and thus development on eroding shores does not take this hazard into account. As a result shoreline hardening is widespread and beach loss is common. 
  • An improved understanding of the variability in tides and sea-levels is required to adequately account for sea-level considerations within the PACC demonstration project and for subsequent completion of the circumferential road.
  • Weak data on primary economic sectors limiting the basis for planning. 
  • In addition to updated aerial photography, LIDAR imagery is greatly needed in order to more accurately assess vulnerability to sea level rise and storm surge throughout Micronesia. This is especially important for low-lying outer islands that are close to sea level.
  • There are other data gaps as well with soil and agro-forestry mapping, wave and sea-level monitoring, and geospatial information on climate and ocean processes that are poorly understood
  • Public education on climate risks in FSM including education of Government workers and other decision makers, of community members, and of landowners in particular. 
  • Defining best management practices and aligning Government programs and policies with these practices.
  • Master planning of communities focused on sustainability with enhanced Government services such as health, sanitation, water and power, emergency services, and others (Fletcher and Richmond, 2010).