Gov’t needs to take long-term action on climate change issue: Report

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BY JENNIFER KUSAPA

THE Office of the Auditor-General has conducted a Performance Audit on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies. This was in recognition of the impact that Climate Change has and will have on islands in the Solomon Islands.

This is a national audit mandated under the Solomon Islands Constitution to examine the Management of the Pacific Adaptation on Climate Change project (PACC).

The Performance Audit report was released on August 24 this year and stated that there is a lack of action Plan for the implementation of the National Food Security Policy [NFSP] 2010-2015 to effectively address the strategies detail in the NFSP.

The AG’s report said that there should be a Working Group to establish a specific prioritised action plan to ensure that the policy objectives are met and adequate planning of addressing the impacts of climate change on AFS within the communities and atolls that at risk.

“It is not clear that the Ministry has focused on finalising the draft National Food Security Programme as it is still waiting for review and little consultation. The structure outlined in the component reports to the PACC project Director via the Steering Committee. However there is no reporting mechanism between Lead Farmers and PMU to assess the demonstration activities status update.

“There is lack of linking mechanism developed for Local Communities, PMU and assisting agency to discuss what was happening on the demonstration site. This is required to ensure proper monitoring for planning purposes. Moreover OAG noted that there is no documented long term plan developed to support and budgeted for its roll out activities after PACC programme is complete,” the report stated.

The plan will enable the sustainability of PACC established activities for atolls and those at risk Islands.

“There is no proper awareness and training to introduce PACC and its community-based activities, as a result there is no community support towards the programme, as objectives are not achieved as planned,” the report says.

The report also highlighted that Honiara, where the bulk of the country’s infrastructure is located was once under the sea and, even now, is barely above sea level. The sort of rises in sea level predicted will see our capital under water once more unless the government takes long term action.

The National Climate Change Policy needs to be updated. There needs to be a Food Security Policy developed. There needs to be sufficient budget provision from Parliament to ensure effective policies exist and to ensure that ministries have sufficient resources to implement them effectively and in full.

“Solomon Islands cannot stop the rise in sea level but it can become one of the best prepared countries in the world to deal with its consequences and ensure that its people can not only survive but prosper in the post-climate change world,” stated in the audit report.

This audit has been part of a joint work by the Asian Development Bank (ADB)/INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI)/Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) co-operative Performance Audit facilitated jointly by the Pacific Islands Auditors.

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