Increasing the resilience of informal urban settlements in Fiji that are highly vulnerable to climate change and disaster risks – Fiji Resilient Informal Settlemets (FRIS)

Background

Fiji is located in the Pacific Ocean’s tropical cyclone belt. The island nation experiences frequent cyclones (on average, one cyclone per year) and with them damaging winds, rain and storm surges. Besides cyclones, the country suffers from other extreme events associated with climate change such as extreme rainfall, flooding, droughts and temperature extremes as well as sea-level rise.

Being mountainous in its interior, cities and towns are mainly located on the coast and along rivers. The result is that Fiji’s towns and cities are particularly exposed to seaborne and riverine natural hazards, cyclones, storm surges, coastal and riverine erosion, landslides, floods and already occurring sea level rise due to climate change. Mangrove deforestation and coral reef extraction in order to accommodate urban development and for reasons of income generation are increasing the vulnerability of urban areas to coastal hazards, as both mangrove forests and coral reefs provide effective barriers against storm surges and cyclones. Of particularly critical concern are the residents of informal settlements in towns and cities as many such settlements are located in highly vulnerable areas, such as riverbanks and pockets of coastal land.

Objectives

The overall objective of this project is to increase the climate resilience of informal urban settlements in Fiji that are highly vulnerable to climate change and disaster risks. The specific objectives of this projects are:

  1. Institutional strengthening for enhanced local climate response, in particular to reduce vulnerability at the city-level to climate-related hazards and threats with a particular view to community level resilience 
  2. Local (community/informal settlement) resilience strengthening through awareness raising and increased ownership of adaptation and climate risk reduction processes and capacity 
  3. Enhancing resilience of community level physical, natural and socio-economic assets and ecosystems through the implementation of climate action plans, hence increasing the adaptive capacity as well as ecosystem resilience in response to climate change and variability-induced stress
  4. Awareness raising, knowledge management and Communication, including a strong focus on knowledge management and data sharing as well as regional replication

Activities

  • City level: 
    • Conduct city-wide risk and vulnerability assessment conducted for the 4 target municipalities
    • Produce hazard maps for target municipalities
    • Develop city-wide climate action plans for target municipalities
    • Employ 4 resilience officers to be based within the municipalities 
  • Community Level
    • Develop aa assessment and planning tool for community vulnerability assessment and action planning
    • Conduct community-based climate vulnerability and informal settlements assessments for the 16 target settlements 
    • Develop Community-level resilience, recovery and upgrading plans developed (Climate Action Plans) for the 16 target settlements
    • Conduct capacity building in 16 target communities on adaptation and risk reduction as well as on climate resilient livelihood strategies
    • Develop and strengthen the physical, natural, and social assets and ecosystems of the 16 target settlements based on their climate action plans 
  • Knowledge management:
    • Generate, capture and distribute lessons learned and best practices regarding resilient urban community development/ housing
    • Support regional replication

Donors and Key Project Stakeholders

Donor:

Adaptation Fund 

Key Project Stakeholders:

Project Steering Committee, Ministry of Housing and Community Development (MHCD), Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Economy – Climate Change Unit, Municipal Councils of Lami, Sigatoka, Nadi and Lautoka, Live And Learn Environmental Education (LLEE)

Relevant Links

Project homepage: Fiji Resilient Informal Settlements (Facebook)

Adaptation Fund: Increasing the resilience of informal urban settlements in Fiji that are highly vulnerable to climate change and disaster risks

Programme: Cities and Climate Change Initiative (UN-Habitat)

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