Kiwa Initiative launches new climate resilience projects in Pacific region
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Suva, Fiji– The Kiwa Initiative has awarded grants to two regional projects that will enhance climate change adaptation by applying nature-based solutions in Pacific island countries.
The two new projects, dubbed INSPIRE and MICOAST, were announced in the margins of the Kiwa Initiative Steering Committee meeting in Suva on May 16.
The INSPIRE (INvasive SPecIes Management for Resilient Ecosystems and SocietiEs) project is led by BirdLife International and will be implemented in Fiji (Melanesia), Palau (Micronesia), Samoa and French Polynesia (Polynesia). The project will identify and monitor invasive alien species, manage watershed invasive weed and habitat restoration, and develop alternative income sources and capacity-building workshops.
“We are excited to be launching our INSPIRE project, where we will work alongside our partners, local communities and governments across the Pacific to address the cumulative negative impacts of invasive species on ecosystem resilience and biodiversity,” said Margaret West, Pacific regional director of BirdLife International. “We thank the Kiwa Initiative for this incredible opportunity for action, capacity building and key learnings.”
INSPIRE project sites - The Omoa catchment in Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia. - The Navukailagi catchment in Gau island, Fiji. - The Gasegase catchment in Upolu island, Samoa. - The Rock Islands Southern Lagoon and the Kayangel atoll, Palau.
The MICOAST (MICronesian Community-based Fisheries Management and NbS for COASTal resilience) project is led by OneReef and will be implemented in the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. The objective of the project is to strengthen the implementation of Community-Based Fisheries Management and related activities as soundly designed and implemented nature-based solutions to enhance climate adaptation and resilience, improve food security and maintain ecosystem services and biodiversity across the Micronesia region.
“As Pacific communities rise to meet the challenge of climate adaptation, resource limitations slow progress while urgency grows,” said Christopher L. LaFranchi, CEO and founder of OneReef. “The Kiwa Initiative is transformative because it meets an urgent need to put the right resources directly into the hands of the many communities working on the ground.” A broad coalition of stakeholders, including coastal fishing communities, traditional and national authorities, private sector and NGOs, will be mobilized to achieve the components of the project.
MICOAST project sites Marshall Islands: Mili Atoll, Maloelap Atoll, Ujae Atoll, Lae Atoll FSM: Pohnpei (U, Madolenihmw and Kitti Municipalities); Yap (Nimpal, Weloy Municipality); Kosrae (whole-of-island). Nauru: All districts Palau: Hatohobei State (Tobi Island and Helen Reef), Sonsorol , Ngarchelong(Ebiil Channel and surrounding waters), Koror (urban Koror, nearshore waters, select MPAs).
A new call for local project proposals will be launched this year.
The IUCN Oceania Regional Office, one of Kiwa Initiative's partners, will provide grants to four new projects that assist local people in conservation and climate change adaptation efforts.
“The local projects funded by the Kiwa Initiative are demonstrating that nature-based solutions across the Pacific, including the overseas French territories, are helping communities and governments to adapt to climate change impacts and understand how leveraging nature can be simple, cost-effective and bring equitable benefits to everyone,” said Kenneth Kassem, IUCN-ORO Strategic Partnerships Officer.
IUCN-ORO manages the funds dedicated to very small-to medium-sized grants for local projects that benefit communities.
With increased contributions from France and Canada, the Kiwa Initiative's funding has increased from EUR57 million (FJD 137 million) to EUR 75 million (FJD 180 million).
François-Xavier Léger, French ambassador to Fiji, said the additional contribution “illustrates the commitment of France toward climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation. This top-up is in line with our Indo-Pacific strategy in Oceania where we encourage regional cooperation with French territories via the Agence française de développement,” Leger added.
“Canada joins hands with our Kiwa partners to meet the Pacific Islands’ need for continued financial assistance for nature-based solutions," said Joanne Lemay, Canada’s high commissioner in New Zealand.