Small island developing states (SIDS) are especially vulnerable to sea-level rise and extreme weather events. Fiji is an island nation in the South Pacific of about 7,000 square miles and a population of approximately 1 million people. Because islands of this size produce so little greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) climate change adaptation, rather than mitigation, becomes the top priority to protect its residents from the effects of climate change.
The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is an international financing, and technical assistance program. Traditionally REDD+ has been involved in projects focused on climate change mitigation, rather than adaptation. The purpose of this case study has been to show how the REDD+ program resources could be successfully applied to climate adaptation.
Fiji has forests covering approximately 60% of its land mass. These forests not only capture carbon, but also protect against soil erosion, favorably influence the temperature and humidity of the island, and provide agricultural opportunities for the country with their wise use. The goal of this case study was to use REDD+ resources to promote sustainable forestry in Fiji. The program operated in three stages: Policy and scoping, detailed planning, and implementation. In this way the program was able to address all aspects of sustainable forestry including the enabling policy and regulatory structure around Fiji’s forests. The project reported several lessons learned that were deemed essential to its success:
- Well planned workshops with attendance from diverse stakeholders. The program began with an initial 5-day workshop. Attendees included policymakers, ministry heads, private companies, NGOs, and indigenous landowners. The workshop built networks for feedback and collaboration that helped elevate the needs of all stakeholder to the attention of the program directors and policymakers.
- Involving international organizations. The REDD+ program in Fiji sought the help of the Germany Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), and the Secretariat of the South Pacific (SPC). These organizations spread knowledge and lessons learned regionally, so that islands facing similar challenges could learn from one another. The program reported that some of the best insights came from these regional communities
- Providing a ‘learning by doing” environment to participants through pilot projects. Workshops and meetings trained stakeholders in practical knowledge about deforestation and conservation, and drafting applications for the REDD+ program. The initial stakeholder meeting included participants drafting their own REDD+ country roadmap together.