In the Pacific region, countries and territories are vulnerable to climate change and the overexploitation of natural resources. Many human-induced impacts on small island ecosystems are irreversible; they often relate to landscape modification and changes in community values and beliefs. To preserve local biodiversity and reduce the loss of ecosystem function, ambitious climate adaptation projects are required.
Among adaptation projects to be deployed in Pacific island nations, Nature-based Solutions (NbS) have considerable potential and can be seen climate solutions. They are “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.” (IUCN 2016).
The Kiwa Initiative to enhance climate finance in the Pacific region
The Kiwa Initiative, a multi-donor program, was launched in 2020. With the objective of enhancing Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in the Pacific, the initiative is currently endowed with 57 million euros. For the first time in the region, a wide range of donors joined forces to enhance NbS: European Union, France, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
During a dedicated side event at COP 27, Stefano Signore - Head of Unit for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy and Nuclear Safety for European Commission, David Higgins - Assistant Secretary, International Net Zero Branch, Australia Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water and Alison Carlin - Development manager at New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, were invited to share their views and achievements of the project as donors.
“The Kiwa initiative donors are fundamental to developing sustainable pathways in the Pacific region, in a very inclusive way, targeting countries and territories. Through the Kiwa initiative, a medium-term financing source is guaranteed, allowing governments to fight climate change. Without enhanced access to climate finance, Pacific islands will face challenges in implementing adaptation solutions. A warm thank you for their commitment.” says Anne-Claire Goarant, Project manager Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability, SPC.
AFD is in charge of the overall coordination of the Initiative, the Pacific Community (SPC) the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are the main reginal partners.
Promoting Nature-based Solutions as climate solutions
In Fiji, six projects from the Kiwa Initiative are being deployed (on both a local and regional scale), from enhancing agroecology to building resilient coastal communities.
“The Kiwa Initiative has provided the Ministry of Waterways with much needed support to scale our Nature-Based Seawall project that aims to enhance coastal community resilience affected by coastal erosion and sea level rise. As an example, the NbS seawall project enhances food security, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity restoration and in some cases biodiversity creation through the planting of mangroves and vetiver grass to stop coastal erosion.” Explains Vinay Singh, Director of Policy and Research, Ministry of Waterways.
The NbS seawall project is deployed within six communities and will rehabilitate 24,000 sqm/ 6 acres of coastline with natural boulders. It also aims to create a coastal biodiversity with 12,000 mangrove and 3,000 vetiver plants. It will directly impact 1450 individuals, of which 60% are women and children.
On a regional scale, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna are benefiting from the Kiwa Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC+) project, funded by the Kiwa Initiative with EUR 4,000,000 and the FFEM with EUR 1,800,000. This project is the continuation of the PEBACC project, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and implemented from 2015 to 2020 by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
In the Solomons Islands, the project supports the Barana Community in protecting Barana Nature and Heritage Park. Development of the park will include reforestation to reduce flood risks, replanting stream, or watershed areas to minimise soil erosion, sustainable land-use management activities and land-use mapping.
Vanuatu supports the revegetation of the riparian zones along the Tagabe river (Port-Vila) to stabilise the riverbank. In Lenakel (Tanna), it promotes reforestation, agroforestry and the creation of a community marine area.
“Not only does the Kiwa PEBACC+ project enhance Ecosystem-based Adaptation in the region, but it also strengthens regional cooperation among Pacific Countries and Territories by promoting sharing experiences and lessons learned from projects.” Says Fred Patison, Climate Change Finance Readiness Adviser, SPREP.
Enhancing Nature-based Solutions for Climate Transformation (ENACT) at COP 27
Recognising the need for a more integrated global approach to Nature-based Solutions, the Egyptian COP27 Presidency, the Government of Germany and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) launched on the 16th of November, the COP 27 'Biodiversity Day', the ENACT (Enhancing Nature-based Solutions for an Accelerated Climate Transformation) initiative to bring coherence to and strengthen collaboration between existing NbS efforts and partnerships.
The initiative will provide the most comprehensive quantitative overview of global progress in implementing NbS commitments by both state and non-state actors. It will produce an annual State of Nature-based Solutions report to update COP28 and subse
The initiative will provide the most comprehensive quantitative overview of global progress in implementing NbS commitments by both state and non-state actors. It will produce an annual State of Nature-based Solutions report to update COP28 and subsequent meetings on progress in implementing NbS commitments.