Major community climate resilience project launches in Vanuatu

Save the Children has signed an agreement with the Green Climate Fund to deliver, with the Government of Vanuatu, the largest ever investment in community-based climate change adaption in the Pacific region.

The US$32.6 million (A$47 million) climate finance deal will help Vanuatu communities adapt to the growing threat of climate change by boosting access to knowledge; providing technical assistance and equipment to support climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries; and improving livelihood opportunities for rural and remote communities.

Principally funded by the Green Climate Fund, with co-financing from the Government of Vanuatu and the Australian government, the Vanuatu Community-based Climate Resilience Project will support 282 communities over the next six years.

The project will directly reach more than 90,000 people, or nearly half of the country’s rural population, across all six provinces in Vanuatu.

Save the Children Australia acting CEO Mat Tinkler said:

“For children in Vanuatu, climate change isn’t some far away prospect, it’s placing them in harm’s way on a daily basis. Children and families in Vanuatu are experiencing increasingly fierce storms, longer droughts and stronger heatwaves.

“To help children to thrive, we need to work with whole communities to adapt to the immediate and unavoidable impacts of climate change. This project will empower some of the most climate-vulnerable communities in Vanuatu to meet the challenges of climate change head-on, so children are protected from the worst impacts of this escalating crisis.

“This is believed to be the biggest locally led climate adaptation project in the world to date, and it is the first of many such projects that Save the Children plans to support globally in the coming years.”

Vanuatu Minister for Climate Change Silas Bule Melve said the climate crisis was the biggest threat faced by Vanuatu and was causing devastation in the nation.

“We in Vanuatu know that the world must listen to the scientific consensus and act quickly to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. But we also know that simply reducing emissions is no longer sufficient to ensure communities in Vanuatu are safe from climate change impacts.

“Adaptation is the top climate priority for Vanuatu. For years we have been seeking increased international finance to help our people address these impacts, which they are now experiencing – through no fault of their own. It is positive to see projects like this, which are so needed in Vanuatu, finally receiving funding.”

GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec said:

“GCF is proud to partner with Save the Children Australia on this project, which will help highly vulnerable rural and coastal communities to increase their resilience to climate change and to protect their livelihoods with a range of innovative and targeted adaptation measures. It will make a real difference in a country which is being severely affected by climate change.”

The Vanuatu Community-based Climate Resilience Project will be implemented through local government and community organisations, following extensive consultations with affected communities. It aims to build the long-term adaptive capacity necessary to pursue sustainable development pathways across a range of potential climate futures.

Programs will increase community access to climate information and early warning systems, as part of disaster risk reduction measures. The project will also support locally led adaptation plans to increase food security and build climate-resilient livelihoods, by restoring and protecting coastal areas, enabling women-led enterprises, and supporting climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries techniques.

The Board of the Green Climate Fund approved financing for the project at a board meeting this week. Representatives from the Green Climate Fund, Save the Children and the Government of Vanuatu signed the project agreement at a virtual ceremony at 11pm AEST 19 May.

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