The Solomon Islands Climate Assistance Programme

The Solomon Islands Climate Assistance Programme

At a glance

Duration
to
Status
Active programmes
Region
Pacific
Country
Solomon Islands
Partners
Min. of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (Climate Change Office and National Disaster Management Office), Min. of National Planning and Aid Coordination
Countries involved
1
Total budget
2,80 M€
GCCA priority area(s)
Video
Effects of climate change on the region

The Solomon Islands’ coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to the impact of cyclones and saltwater intrusion. Cyclones can damage agriculture through intense winds and flooding. Coastal erosion and increased intensity of storm surges could impact agricultural productivity across the low-lying areas of the country. Water crises during El Niño-driven droughts may become increasingly common on smaller and more remote atolls. Mangrove degradation, coral bleaching, and increased incidence of nutritional deficiencies due to lower crop yields and diarrheal and vector-borne diseases, are other climate-related issues.

At the start of the programme, in 2009,  economic growth reduced to 4.7% from 7.1% in 2008 and 6.4% in 2007. The recession in 2009 prompted widespread expenditure cuts. In addition to this economic growth stalled in 2014, due to the consequences of heavy rainfall that caused floods in April that year.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
2,800,000.00 €
Specific objectives

Support the capacity of the Government of Solomon Islands for policy enhancement, coordination and implementation of its national climate change strategy in line with its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) and National Disaster Risk Management Plan (NDMRP).

Key achievements

 

  • Climate change has been mainstreamed into the Development Budget since start of SICAP in 2011.

  • The National Climate Change Policy was launched in mid-2012. 

  • The establishment of the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) under the leadership of Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Development, Planning and Aid Coordination as forum for policy dialogue and donor coordination in the sector. The first official meeting of the CCWG took place on 30 January 2015. The joint-chairs are the Permanent Secretaries of both Ministries. Subsequent meetings will be scheduled each quarter, on the last Tuesday of the first month.

  • Mainstreaming of climate change in the National Development Strategy and National Transport Plan. On 29 June 2012 the Ministry launched the National Climate Change Policy 2012-2017 (NCCP) after Cabinet approval. 

  • Staff from the Ministry of Environment and other line ministries undertook training on:, greenhouse gas inventories, a climate impact model (SimClim,) participatory mapping and community empowerment for climate change adaptation planning and advocacy, "Future Climate Leaders Community Engagement Workshop", ("PadClim") advanced training, as well as Disaster Risk Management training. Following these courses, the Ministry of Environment has intensified its work on the development of their climate vulnerability database. 

  • Guidelines for managed human resettlement planning are expected to be drafted, after wide consultation, including within the provinces.

Main activities per result

Climate change and disaster risk reduction priorities are effectively mainstreamed in national development policies and in key sector strategies.

More specifically:

  • From 2011 onwards, budget is allocated to key institutions carrying out climate change and disaster risk reduction activities, notably those targeting people living on low-lying atolls, artificially built islands and other low lying coastal areas.

  • Institutional capacities within the Ministry of Environment and National Disaster Management Office are strengthened.

  • A national climate change strategy, coherent with the NDRMP and NAPA, is established.

Monitoring focuses on the triggers for disbursement of the variable tranche of budget support.

  • For the first tranche: (i) Climate Change is to be mainstreamed in the approved National Development Strategy and National Transport Plan (including relocation of infrastructure affected by climate change). (ii) The development budget must allocate at least 10 million SBD to the implementation of the first priority of the NAPA (i.e. ‘Managing the impacts of, and enhancing resilience to, climate change and sea level rise, on agriculture and food security, water supply and sanitation, human settlements, human health and education, awareness and information’) – including relocation.

  • For the second tranche: (i) The development budget must allocate at least 10 million SBD to the implementation of the first priority of the NAPA (including relocation). (ii) At least 5 days of training on climate change and/or disaster risk reduction are received by technical staff of the Ministry of Environment, National Disaster Management Office, Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, and Ministry of Lands during 2011. (iii) The Solomon Islands national climate change strategy is approved by the National Disaster Council and submitted to the Cabinet; it includes a number of elements related to the identification of high-risk communities, the costing of climate change adaptation measures including relocation, and guidelines for human resettlement projects.

Challenges and lessons learned (selected)
  • Capacities in the Ministry of Environment (esp. in the Climate Change Division) remain overstretched and addressing these capacity constraints has been slower than anticipated (in the context of the recruitment freeze of public servants). The appointment of the new Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment (July 2013) has improved the leadership and momentum of climate change activities in the Ministry.

  • Timely access to general budget support funds has proved difficult for the Ministry of Environment, with resulting  delays in planned activities.

  • The large number of actors (ministries, donors, NGOs) and broad definition of the "climate change" sector (encompassing adaptation, mitigation, disaster management, environment) poses challenges for effective coordination.

  • Ownership and leadership by the government, political commitment and an action-oriented matrix of reform priorities to assess progress and structure the policy dialogue are important success factors.

  • The target of drafting appropriate guidelines for managed human resettlement that was included within SICAP was too ambitious. Human resettlement or relocation is a delicate issue. It is not a matter of simply transferring people from point A to point B. Cultural aspects, physical infrastructure (education and health services, elderly care, trauma counselling) and political concerns are factors that play a role and require consideration and involvement of wider authorities. It is obviously a lengthy process that should be taken forward holistically.

Way forward (selected)
  • On-going vulnerability assessment to identify and rank affected, high-risk communities according to risk related criteria. Determining a realistic costing of climate change adaptation measures, including relocation. Drafting guidelines for human resettlement projects, after nation-wide consultations, including safeguard standards, to minimize risks of conflict due to resettlement.

  • Ongoing strengthening of capacities at the Climate Change Division at the Ministry of Environment.

  • Drafting of a matrix of action & deliverables in the climate change sector as tool for the CCWG.

Quotes

‘There is growing concern, seeing first-hand the impacts of climate change as it slowly erodes the very low-lying atoll of Ontong Java. With a number of villages the rising sea level is slowly eating up right to their doorsteps.’  

Casper Supa, Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Project Officer