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First in Pacific to win support

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Aug. 19, 2010) - The Solomon Islands recently became the first country in the Pacific region, and one of four countries in the world, to be invited to secure resources for adaptation to climate change through the recently established United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s Adaptation Fund.

The Adaptation Fund (AF) was established to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

The new project is titled "Enhancing resilience of communities in Solomon Islands to the adverse effects of climate change in agriculture and food security".

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Meteorology (MECM) is the Designated National Authority for the AF.

MECM is together with Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) and Solomon Islands Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, with technical assistance from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), leading the way to secure the available financing.

It is expected that the funding will be used to achieve a set of results aimed at strengthening the ability of vulnerable communities across the provinces to manage the likely impacts as well as uncertainties of climate change on agriculture and food security.

A concept outlining a holistic approach to reducing the vulnerability of communities across the islands to climate change was submitted by the Government of Solomon Islands to the AF for consideration at the June 2010 meeting of the Adaptation Fund Board.Last week, the Board formally announced that the proposed interventions by Solomon Islands were determined to be eligible to receive funding of US$5 million and requested the Government and its partners to submit a detailed operationally and technically viable implementation plan for final review and approval. UNDP is presently providing expedited support to the Government to develop and submit the implementation plan.

It is expected that the project will focus predominantly in financing community-based adaptation initiatives. A range of initiatives, determined in consultation with beneficiaries of this initiative, will be implemented to strengthen the resilience of communities to anticipated climate change pressures such as sea-level rise, long-term temperature and precipitation change as well as extreme events.

For example, financing will be made available to implement on-the-ground actions to support smallholder farmers such as establishing nurseries and germ plasm centers for crop varieties that are more likely to be productive under changing climate, introducing drought as well as salinity-resilient crop varieties, water management practices such as irrigation that internalize climate change pressures on water resources, support for food processing, preservation and storage to overcome periods of extreme events and a range of others.

In addition, the initiative will also provide Solomon Islands with the opportunity to strengthen technical capacities within public and private institutions that are mandated to establish regulatory and incentive schemes to trigger behavioral adjustments that are more aligned with the inevitable implications of climate change on the agriculture sector.

The project will also focus on knowledge generation and codification of lessons from adaptation practices, and sharing and dissemination. It is expected that the implementation of this project, will also strengthen the capacity of Solomon Islands to directly access funds for adaptation in the future.

In order to prepare the full project proposal, a series of stakeholder consultations has been organized over the coming months. The first of these was held on 29-30 July in Honiara, and around 30 people from the relevant ministries, academia and NGOs were invited to share the project objective, outcomes and selection criteria of the pilot community projects. Additional consultations will be held in the coming months.

The full project proposal is expected to be finalized in a couple of months and submitted to the AF Board for its endorsement. Once funding is secured by the end of the year, implementation of activities in Solomon Islands is expected to commence in 2011.


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