Suva, Fiji – The Government of Tuvalu and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has today signed an agreement to continue to partner on climate change adaptation work in Tuvalu. This marks the commencement of the second climate change adaptation project in Tuvalu that responds to adaptation priorities outlined in the Tuvalu National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA).
To a low-lying nation of Tuvalu that comprises nine atoll islands with a limited economic base, climate change is a real, existential threat, and the climate change adaptation is among the highest national priority. The project received US$4.2m from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Government of Tuvalu will use the fund to address adaptation priorities in two sectors - coastal fisheries and disaster risk management.
Under a changing climate, coastal fisheries, which are an important source of food for Tuvaluans, are expected to undergo a significant productivity decline, bringing food security concerns to the fore. Extreme climate events, such as tropical cyclones, are expected to be more intense. The Government of Tuvalu, with support from UNDP and LDCF/GEF, will implement various measures to help people cope with such changes. They include strengthened community-based management of coastal fisheries, better monitoring of climate impact on such resources, enhancement of real time communications and early warning dissemination from the capital to all outer islands, and upgrading of evacuation facilities.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour, Honourable Taukelina Finikaso said “Tuvalu will greatly benefit from this project in terms of its expected outcomes which will help adapting Tuvalu to the impacts of climate change.”
“Tuvalu greatly appreciates the unfailing effort put in by UNDP for conceptualising the NAPA project for the past two years. I know that it is not always an easy task when working with small island countries like Tuvalu due to its absorptive capacity in terms of human and institutional capacity constraints.”
Acknowledging GEF’s funding allocation made available to the Tuvalu NAPA under the LDC Funding source, Hon Finikaso said that the Government is prioritising climate change and would be working very closely with multilateral implementing entities like UNDP to access climate financing to help protect the people of Tuvalu and their livelihoods from the brunt of climate change.
Emphasising the importance of the project, the UNDP Resident Representative (a.i.) Akiko Fujii said that “when we talk about sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Tuvalu, tremendous efforts and progresses have been made. But we still can do much more to support your efforts in achieving the MDGs, particularly ensuring environmental sustainability (MDG7).”
“We also want to strengthen fair and inclusive development through this project. We are looking at how we can contribute to the development of rural sectors, outer islands and communities, which are in need of development.”
The national launch of the project will be held in December and the project will run for four years. In addition to GEF, Government of Tuvalu and UNDP, other contributing partners include the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAID), Tuvalu Felkaupule Trust Fund, and Tuvalu Red Cross.
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