Implementing Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific Islands: Adapting to Present Climate Variability and Extreme Weather Events in Navua (Fiji)
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues for the Pacific Island countries (PICs). The impacts of climate variability and extreme events (cyclones, floods, droughts, sea level rise, and other natural disasters) are rapidly pushing people beyond their coping range. The capacity to mitigate the impacts of climate change and extreme events is generally beyond most PICs. The only logical option for PICs is to learn to adapt to these changes through adapting to climate variability and extreme events. This paper presents some of the lessons learned from SIS09 pilot study implemented as part of AIACC initiative aimed at developing a "second-generation" integrated model for climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessment incorporating both natural and human systems (socioeconomic). The lessons learnt are mainly from the observations and assessments made by the SIS09 team of prevailing physical, socioeconomic, and political conditions, which ultimately affect the ability of Navua residents to autonomously adapt to river flooding triggered by intense and/or prolonged rainfall. The lessons learnt will be used to inform and articulate a possible process of implementing climate change adaptation in PICs. The rest of the paper highlights some of the challenges pertaining to implementing climate change adaptation in PICs with reference to studies in Navua.