Fiji is subject to highly destructive cyclones, intense rainfall events, and devastating droughts. The Western Division, which includes the Ba Catchment Area, is particularly hard hit by flood and drought due to its location on a common cyclone path and within Viti Levu’s “rain shadow” (which makes the areas drier than the eastern part of the island on average). These effects will be exacerbated by climate change: as the climate warms, droughts are expected to increase in frequency and severity, rainfall is expected to become more concentrated but more intense (and destructive) rainfall events, cyclones may increase in frequency, and variability will increase as El Nino-related oscillations are likely to become more extreme.
Failure to address the impact of flooding occurs because responsibilities for land and water management in the catchment are fragmented, technical assessment capacity has been unable to identify the impacts of development proposals, and assessment of development occurs on an individual project basis without reference to an integrated flood or catchment plan. Institutions usually have geographical and functional boundaries; often this is coped with by developing larger institutions with wider geographical and functional boundaries. This can create clumsy and inefficient organisations, out of touch with local situations. There is a need to cut across institutional boundaries and to integrate the work of such institutions with local community plans and actions. Under present circumstances, the “legs” of flood management in Ba (the communities) are cut off from the “head” (government technical, resource management, early warning and support services) with neither learning much from the other.
The proposed project will address these barriers and needs in a highly integrated way, combining concerted efforts at the community and household levels in the Ba watershed area (home to approx. 18,000 inhabitants) to increase local resilience to flood and drought risks and hazards through implementation of on-the-ground adaptation measures. The framework for this project strategy includes an integrated and climate-sensitive flood and drought management plan, specifically developed for the Ba watershed area, through community consultation processes, involving national and local authorities and backed by technical expertise and assessments.
The outputs and activities listed on the Expected Key Results and Outputs page are inherently linked and supportive of each other. While the focus is on community-based adaptation measures, the early warning system and the institutional strengthening components are designed to provide the enabling environment that would allow the systematic development and implementation of on-the-ground measures within an integrated watershed development plan, supported by adequate instruments and user-tailored climate information services. The knowledge management component is designed to allow the capturing of good practices and lessons learnt both from the policy processes and community-based adaptation implementation, ensuring that the experience generated will support longer-term adaptation processes and future generation of professionals and practitioners, as part of the project sustainability strategy.
This project was endorsed by the Adaptation Fund Board on June 22, 2011, and currently awaits funding and implementation.
Source: Project Proposal document, 2011-06-06
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