Climate change, country’s biggest challenge

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One of the artificial Islands in the Lau lagoon who are facing impact of sea level rise and poor water and no proper sanitation.
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BY LYNTON AARON FILIA

 

CLIMATE change is still the biggest challenge in the Solomon Islands with impacts of sea level rise and intense weather events posing a serious threat to islands and coastline dwellers.

Solomon Islands is surrounded by islands, and is a nation of hundreds of volcanic islands, coral atolls and reefs in the South Pacific and is a part of the coral triangle – hub for marine biodiversity.

However, the country’s natural beauty has been exposed to many hazards like floods, cyclones, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions with the impacts of rising sea levels and more intense weather events multiplying the risks and posing serious threats to the people of Solomon Islands.

Currently, the government of Solomon Islands and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are working with communities who are on the frontline of negative impacts of climate change to find ways to adapt to the changing environment.

SIG and UNDP specialists under the Solomon Islands Water Sector Adaptation Project (SIWSAP) — Gud Wata Fo Strongem Komuniti Lo Evritaem, have worked with six far-flung communities across the country.

These locations have become innovation hubs to test and refine methods to cope with issues such as drought, salination of wells and the loss of crops to the encroaching sea.

According to SIWSAP, the project was set with a goal to equip people with resilience to meet the challenges of the future and serve as a replicable model of adaptation around the Pacific and the world.

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With regards to weather, the SIWSAP project installed five hydro-meteorological stations in Gizo (Western province), Taro (Choiseul province), three in Tigoa (Rennell Bellona province), Ferafalu community (Malaita province), and Tuwo community (Temotu province).

The new hydro-meteorological stations are built upon existing Climate Early Warning Systems (CLEWS) that are monitored and operated by the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services (SIMS).

According to Solomon Islands Climate Change and Disaster Risk Finance Assessment report, SIG commitment with climate change and disaster risk management are issues of high priority.

The report also contained interest from outside partners as new climate financing mechanisms to drive actions.

The international community also works towards the commitment to jointly mobilise USD$100 billion annually in climate finance to 2020.

More broadly, strengthening country systems will improve donor confidence to engage with Solomon Islands and catalyse the achievement of the sustainable development goals, which are linked to the national priorities of Solomon Islands as outlined in the National Development Strategy 2016–2035 (NDS).

Meanwhile, SIG and UNDP through the SIWSAP project worked with communities towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate change adaptation by building resilience of communities in the water sector.

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