GCCA thematic support programme for Vanuatu

GCCA thematic support programme for Vanuatu

At a glance

Duration
to
Status
Completed programmes
Region
Pacific
Country
Vanuatu
Partners
Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazards Dept, National Advisory Board on climate change and disaster risk reduction, World Bank
Countries involved
1
Total budget
5,70 M€
Sector(s)
GCCA priority area(s)
Effects of climate change on the region

The isolated location, small land area separated by vast oceans, and the attendant challenges and costs of providing basic services make Vanuatu, like all small island developing states, extremely vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. A narrow economic base with a large subsistence agriculture sector compounds vulnerability. Sea level rise, the likely increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, and increased variability in rainfall with an alternation of very dry and very wet periods, are among expected effects of climate change. Climate change is likely to impact all sectors especially agriculture, water, coastal and marine resources and tourism.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
5,700,000.00 €
Specific objectives

Increase Vanuatu’s capabilities to cope with the effects of climate change by improving its overall understanding of the effects of climate change, and strengthening climate resilience and disaster risk reduction in key sectors.

Key achievements
  • The National Advisory Board (NAB) on climate change and disaster risk reduction was launched in December 2012. In parallel, multi-stakeholder climate change and disaster risk reduction working groups meet on a monthly basis. 

  • Two agro-meteorology experts worked on the collection of data on agricultural sector adaptation practices. 

  • A project M&E framework has been developed. The results from its implementation are to be critically analyzed by the PMU, the World Bank and the Government in order to maximize efficiency in implementing the project within the remaining time frame. One of the conclusions from the development of the M&E was to fully engage with Civil Society Organizations in relation to subcomponent 2, Increasing resilience of local communities.

  • Identification of risks and vulnerabilities were sought through a comprehensive baseline survey conducted from June –September 2016. The baseline survey assessed a total of 220 villages of East and West Tanna. Baseline data was then analysed and produced village profiles/reports for the 220 villages and the reports show the current situation of these villages. Current situation covers topographic situations, a history of natural disasters in the area, land degradation issues, availability of natural resources, social relationships and everything one needs to know about a village.

  • The Vanuatu Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Policy 2016 – 2030 was approved and published in October 2015.

  • A communication and Visibility Plan, was developed and adopted at the end of 2013. The document includes community and mass-media activities and a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework to monitor results and impact.  

  • Following TC Pam in March 2015, the GoV called on the IRCCNH project to support emergency response and recovery activities in light of the major damages caused. The PMU and line ministries produced a Post Cyclone Pam Action Plan, which set out agreed actions in three areas: (i) emergency actions; (ii) post-Pam institutional strengthening; and (iii) early recovery operations. The emergency actions have been completed, including procurement of agricultural tools to assist affected farmers to regrow their gardens and sawmills to mill trees felled by TC Pam for rebuilding of houses. Damage assessments for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) were conducted on Tanna. Repairs to the VMGD monitoring network have started with the first phase of urgent repairs completed. In addition, the PMU began preparations for repairs (‘quick fixing’) of water assets damaged by TC Pam.

Main activities per result

The Government of Vanuatu gets assistance in policy development on climate change.

Through the provision of funding and technical assistance, the programme seeks to foster the integration of climate change vulnerability into development plans and budgets, as well as the capacity to enforce environment-related laws; assist in strengthening dialogue on climate change with other partners; support participation in international forums; help finalise the ratification of international agreements; and prepare the ground for the use of budget support for actions on climate change.

Resilience to climate- and weather-related risks identified in Vanuatu’s NAPA is strengthened.

Traditional and improved farming practices are identified and promoted to conserve soil moisture and nutrients, to reduce run-off and control soil erosion. Rainwater harvesting is developed. Diversification of agriculture by means of agroforestry is promoted, notably to control flooding.

Early warning and monitoring systems are developed to provide timely and relevant information to assist farmers in watershed areas to prepare for and cope with flooding.

Successful practices such as roof water harvesting and storage are scaled up to address water security issues in selected at-risk coastal communities.

Programme activities also support wetland restoration and the replanting of coastal vegetation. Forest management and indigenous afforestation methods will be improved to reduce flooding, coastal erosion and the impact of storm surges. Hazard/risk mapping will be conducted to demarcate high-risk areas and specifically help coastal communities to avoid expansion of settlements into flood-prone areas.

Challenges and lessons learned (selected)

In small countries with limited human resources available in government services, the need for technical assistance or other forms of capacity strengthening should be examined with the partner government as early as possible in the project cycle. Indeed, capacity issues to deal with EU procedures and regulations both in the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazards Department (VMGD) and with the National Authorizing Officer of the European Development Fund are at the basis of the low rate of budget absorption.

Coordination of Donor support is also crucial in such a context, notably where capacity development is supported by different international organisations.

The associated Increase Resilience to Climate Change and Natural Hazards IRCCNH project ensures that both the natural and/or human environment is safeguarded from the dangers of proposed works related to the implementation of micro projects. A checklist is used to screen the micro-project site, the environment, the land acquisition and access to resources, potential pesticides and agricultural chemicals, dam safety and voluntary land donation certifications. The form is signed off by local authorities concerned to allow for the micro-project implementations to proceed. In cases where there is a serious risk related to land or environmental safety – an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is developed and managed into the future.

Way forward (selected)

Following TC Pam in March 2015, the GoV called on the IRCCNH project to support emergency response and recovery activities in light of the major damages caused. The PMU and line ministries produced a Post Cyclone Pam Action Plan, which set out agreed actions in three areas: (i) emergency actions; (ii) post-Pam institutional strengthening; and (iii) early recovery operations. The emergency actions have been completed, including procurement of agricultural tools to assist affected farmers to regrow their gardens and sawmills to mill trees felled by TC Pam for rebuilding of houses. Damage assessments for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) were conducted on Tanna. Repairs to the VMGD monitoring network have started with the first phase of urgent repairs completed. In addition, the PMU began preparations for repairs (‘quick fixing’) of water assets damaged by TC Pam. 

Quotes

“Urgent action is needed to avoid a genocidal impact on small island states. We cannot meet the challenges of climate change alone. The GCCA is necessary and will go a long way to assisting Vanuatu meet the challenges of climate change.”

Prime Minister Edward Natapei at the 4th edition of the EU Development Days, in October 2009, after signing the exchange of notes confirming GCCA support for Vanuatu (source: Vanuatu Daily Post).