CLIMATE change is a particular threat to island nations thus effective adaptation is vital.
Melanesia Director for Wildlife Conservation Society Stacy Jupiter said a new analysis examines current adaptation measures in tropical Oceania had identifies guidelines for implementing resilient, ecosystem-based adaptation.
Among its recommendations she said local communities should be fully involved in planning adaptation measures.
She said small islands are particularly at risk as sea level rise may flood coastal communities and ecosystems damaged by flooding can deplete local resources and affect livelihoods.
“Ecosystem-based adaptation, the protection and restoration of ecosystems for provision of key ecosystem services, will be especially valuable in helping island populations face the challenges of climate change,” she said.
She added the local community must build the models themselves, overlaying them with maps of resources or human pressures.
The process has been found to facilitate group discussion and help provide a sense of ‘ownership’ of adaptation measures for the community involved.
“Across Oceania and particularly within the Locally Managed Marine Area Network, local communities must form their own community-based natural resource management committees to design and put into practice management strategies that best fit their local context.
“As global climate change impacts local ecosystems and resources, the committees will able to quickly respond by adapting their management practices to ensure maintenance of food security, as well as other important ecosystem services,” she said.
She said they strongly recommend that the local community must be fully involved for any adaptation measures to be effective.
She further added that the research they carried out had demonstrates that many of the current responses to climate change could be improved by moving towards ecosystem-based adaptation.
She said the Pacific Small Island Developing States must consider this seriously as many of its people are dependent on coastal ecosystems for their livelihoods and food security.
– Follet John, USP Journalism student