Representatives from the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Tonga have shared the successes, challenges and experiences of working with a tailored set of tools tested to assess impact of their history of climate change adaptations.

The countries provided their feedback during a two-day workshop organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) team in Samoa as part of the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Scaling up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+ SUPA) project, accompanied by the SPC project team in Fiji.

The workshop aimed at gathering in-country teams where the field-testing of an impact analysis methodology tool in food security, water security, marine resources and coastal protection sectors has been conducted. The project lead for SPREP GCCA+ SUPA, Ms Monifa Fiu opened the virtual gathering, setting the scene for the two-day meeting.

“We want to thank you for al the hard work you have been doing in your countries,” said Ms Fiu. “These are very tough times with COVID-19 but I am glad we are able to gather, even if it’s virtual. Our workshop is an opportunity to come together, reflect and share field experiences of the tailored set of tools tested to assess impact and analyse sample interventions you have selected as part of your country history of climate change adaptations.”

Ms Fiu acknowledged the difficulties of applying the tools at first but appreciated the expertise of the national adaptation practitioners to advise into what works best within the socio-cultural context of their countries. She said the workshop was for “us to listen to your trial experience and learn from your wisdom on decades of adaptation on how to better move forward, fine tuning the tools.”

The GCCA+ SUPA project is about scaling up climate change adaptation (CCA) measures in specific sectors supported by knowledge management and capacity building. The four and a half year project (2019-2023) is funded with € 14.89 million from the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with SPREP and The University of the South Pacific (USP), in collaboration with the governments and peoples of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu. 

Following the formal introduction and setting the project context, the national consultant from the Cook Islands, Mr Teariki Rongo provided feedback from his country.  He said it is important for policy makers to assess the impact of CCA interventions a few years after their completion as the best way to realise the potential to improve the people’s livelihoods from CCA project interventions. He also reminded that the current CCA practice focused on outputs at the end of the project cycle, which does not always fulfill the long-term goals of the adaptation work it was intended to solve, and hence applauding the need for a formal impact methodology like the one being tested.

Mr Winfred Mudong shared FSM’s experience. He revealed how they have implemented the use tailored social surveys tools such as household surveys, public polls and focus group interviews, with a field observation team consisting of camera recording equipment, a Global Positioning System operator and performing basic water impact checklists to assess the condition of rainwater harvesting systems.  In summarising the lessons learned, he highlighted the importance of baseline data documentation before any assessment was conducted as well as training CCA surveyors on the IA tools. He also highlighted the need for community ownership in every aspect of CCA interventions along with community engagement in town hall meetings to explain the findings as well as to engage with policy makers so that they also understand and adopt these methodologies in their decision-making process.

Presenting Palau’s experience was Ms Umai Basilius who was joined by her colleagues from the Palau Conservation Society.  Ms Basilius focused on two sectors; food and water security, and explained how and what they measured in order to obtain indicators as units to measure and a methodology. Her team collected data from various sources, including GPS, household assessments and surveys using the Kobo survey tool provided by SPREP.

Palau recommended the use of a result-based management approach to CCA projects so that adaptive management can take place as the project progresses. They also recognised the need to institutionalise the use of indicators across sectors engaged in food and water security programmes, the training of data collection personnel and finally they stress the importance to learn from other sectors because they also use similar indicators to track progress and impacts for their sectorial own objectives.

Tonga’s national consultant, Mr Fuka Kitekei'aho, presented his findings on coastal protection measures prior to damages caused by the volcanic eruption and tsunami effect.

During the workshop, two virtual break-up rooms allowed participants to brainstorm on subjects with the use of an online tool to allow the facilitators ask questions and get responses in real time about pressing CCA issues.

During a Q&A session, Mr. Richard Moufa from FSM added that sulfate test kits for bacteria water testing donated by UNICEF have worked well for them in the past for remote locations, and Mr Joe Aitaro from Palau asked if there were early warnings systems in place to ensure that droughts are dealt with rapidly due to the long distance required to bring water to the distant island of Nukuoro.

The second day of the workshop saw two break up sessions to reflect on the trial experiences in Cook Islands, Palau and FSM, and discuss the next steps of the implementation of the IA methodology, and finally to demonstrate the use of check lists for water protection and security.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) leads the development of an impact analysis methodology for the GCCA+ SUPA project, its field testing and application with further building capacity of member countries to guide strategic adaptation planning purpose in the ten Pacific Island countries.

The GCCA+ SUPA project, funded by the European Union is delivered collaboratively by SPREP, Pacific Community (SPC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) with the aim to enhance climate change adaptation and resilience within the Pacific region.

For more information, please contact: GCCA+ SUPA Project Manager, Ms. Monifa Fiu on email: [email protected] or GCCA+ SUPA Information and Research Officer, Ms. Gloria Roma on email: [email protected]