Fiji

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Overview

Located approximately 1,100 miles off of the northeast of New Zealand’s north island, the Republic of Fiji is composed of over 330 islands. Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) comprises 1.3 million square kilometres; approximately a third of the 330 islands are inhabited. The two major islands make up 87% of the total land area, and are of volcanic origin. The numerous smaller islands are a mixture of volcanic, low-lying atolls, and elevated reefs. The largest islands have a diverse range of terrestrial ecosystems, including extensive areas of indigenous forest. Coastal ecosystems include mangroves, algae and sea-grass beds in shallow reef and lagoon areas, and various reef types such as barrier, fringing platform and atoll or patch reefs.[1]

The current population of Fiji is approximately 840,000 (2007 Census) of which more than 670,000 (or more than 80%) live on the main island of VitiLevu. The Western Division, comprising the south eastern, western, and north western half of VitiLevu and including the urban areas of Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Tavua, and Rakiraki, has a population of about 330,000, of which about 15,000 live in and around the Ba catchment area.  Fiji is one of the most economically developed countries in the Pacific Island realm due to an abundance of forest, mineral and marine resources. Its main industries are tourism and sugar exports.[2] However, a recent estimate based on a review of the 2008/2009 Household Income and Expenditure Survey [3] notes that one-third of the national population (≈270,000 people) is living in poverty. Poverty is particularly acute in rural agricultural areas, including the Ba region. [4]

With climate change in Fiji, temperatures have increased, sea level has risen and ocean acidification has been increasing. Climate change is expected to affect the country’s coastal resources through sea level rise, and ocean acidification continues to increase and threaten coral reef ecosystems. There are anticipated impacts on infrastructure caused by the projected increase in the frequency and intensity of cyclones and other tropical storms.[5] Additionally, temperature will continue to increase, rainfall patterns will change, there will be less frequent (but more intense) tropical cyclones, sea levels will continue to rise and ocean acidification will continue.

Projections for all emissions scenarios indicate that the annual average air temperature and sea surface temperature will increase in the future in Fiji. By 2030, under a high emissions scenario, this increase in temperature is projected to be in the range of 0.4–1.0°C. Increases in the average temperature will also result in a rise in the number of hot days and warm nights and a decline in cooler weather.

Source: Taken from Map No. 3974 Rev. 15 (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific), United Nations, July 2007.

Source: ©SPC, 2013.



[1] Adaptation Fund Proposal - Fiji – 2011, p. 1 and Fiji’s First National Communication Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2005.

[2] Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands [GRFI] (2009).Our Country. Retrieved from Fiji Government Online Portal: http://fiji.gov.fj/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=645&Itemid=196

[4] Fiji Bureau of Statistics, Census 2007.

[5] Ministry of Finance and National Planning [MFNP] (2005).Climate Change The Fiji Islands Response. Fiji's First National Communication Under the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Retrieved from http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/fjinc1.pdf