Team completes Integrated Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment in Reef Is

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A team from the Climate Change Division CCD of the Ministry of Environment Climate Change Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) have just returned after completing a two-week-long Integrated Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment in the Reef Islands of the Temotu Province. The primary objective of the SIIVA assessment is to determine the vulnerability and risks to climate variability and change of the communities in Temotu Pele. The assessment took place  from the 17th to 31st of March. The Climate Change Division is the responsible technical division that informs and coordinates the implementation effort of the SIG in areas of Mitigation, Adaptation and Geographic Information System (GIS) for Climate Change activities in the country.

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The assessment is carried out using the Solomon Islands Integrated, Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment (SIIVA) tool. SIIVA assesses the exposure of communities to the onset impacts of both climate and non-climate factors to determine the level of vulnerability. Assessing; water security, watershed health, community health, coastal health, energy security, income security, security of place, forest health, and food security. It identifies key challenges under each sector and pays attention to measures taken to address these challenges by the vulnerable communities and the adaptation options and interventions that SIG and its partners can embark on to help the vulnerable communities in the country.

The SIIVA team comprises of 6 Officers from the Climate Change Office, 3 trained SIIVA surveyors, and 2 Media Officials from Homegrown Studio. The team assessed 14 different communities in the Pele region of the Reef Islands, namely, they are; Tanga, Nifiloli, Pileni, Otelo, Ngawa/Nola, Nenubo, Nyivale, Nopali, Ngadeli, Lakoa (Nyibanga Temoa), Matema, Lipe, Nupani, and Nukapu. The identified pressing issues common in the Reef Islands are Food Security, Water security, and the threats posed by sea-level rise as the three most negatively impacted sectors by changing climate. The Reef Islands compose of all atoll islands and islets, have been experiencing fast receding shorelines, saltwater intrusion affecting food and water quality and quantity, continuous destruction of properties due to high exposure to strong winds and strong wave impacts. The aforementioned sectors are priority areas that will need urgent and immediate action.

Since climate change has and will have adverse consequences and challenges across all essential sectors with negative impacts on people’s livelihood, the Government is embarking on its long-term strategic plan to develop a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and resilient framework for all provinces to address the issue of climate change and disaster-related risks. To inform these plans and carry out relevant climate actions, it is vital to carry out IVA through a cross-section of the country.

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To further add value to the SIIVA, coastal profiling was also done for these communities, to map out high watermarks, key landmarks, and the elevation of these islands and islets. The data gathered and the GPS coordinates recorded from coastal profiling provides evidence-based projections on the sea level rise rate to the specific communities and the likely impacts in the near future.

Baseline data collected is stored for the communities on the Geographic Information System (GIS) Server in the Climate Change Office. The overall data collected from the communities will be used by the community, Provincial, and National Government to plan and prepare its people to positively respond to the changing climate. Data collected will also be presented at international meetings to raise awareness of Climate Change Impacts in the Solomon Islands. Moreover, it will contribute to advancing the urgency for Climate Change Action and Ambition. 

This field trip is co-funded by the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and the U.S Agency for Development (USAID). The team acknowledges SIG and USAID for their financial support, Temotu Provincial Government for endorsing the SIIVA for the Reef Islands as the starting point for SIIVA in Temotu Province, and to the 14 communities for their hospitality, time, and contributions SIIVA team.

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