Fijian Government launches significant new study into the country’s climate vulnerability at COP23
BONN, November 10, 2017 – By 2050, Fiji’s annual losses due to extreme weather events could reach 6.5 percent of GDP because of the impact of climate change, with more than 32,000 people pushed into hardship every year, according to a significant new climate vulnerability study launched today at COP23 in Bonn, Germany. An estimated FJ$9.3 billion (US$4.5 billion) over ten years – almost equivalent to 100 percent of the country’s GDP for one year – is needed to build the resilience and capacity to adapt to climate change.
Climate Vulnerability Assessment: Making Fiji Climate Resilient, which was prepared in partnership with the World Bank and Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), was launched at COP23 today by Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Climate Change, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
The Vulnerability Assessment provides significant new analysis of Fiji’s vulnerability to climate change, with projections outlining potential impacts for Fiji over the coming decades, covering the impact of climate change on Fiji’s economy, livelihoods and poverty levels, health and food security together with key industries including agriculture and tourism, as well as potential impacts of sea level rise on coastal areas and low lying islands. Key projections from the Assessment include:
- An increase in the number of Fijians being pushed into poverty and hardship would increase from 25,700 people per year to an estimated 32,400 per year by 2050.
- A significant increase in the cost of climate change-related disasters, with projections of asset losses from floods and cyclones costing up to 30 percent higher than current averages.
- Sea-level rise and increased intensity of coastal storms, with most models projecting an increase in global sea levels of 17-38cm relative to current levels by 2065, potentially creating a major threat for the country; with 30 percent of Fiji’s population currently living in risk-prone areas.
Much can be done to help Fiji minimize risks and adapt to climate change. The Assessment identifies 125 measures across five priority areas that could make Fiji and Fijians more resilient. The five areas include: building inclusive and resilient towns and cities; improving infrastructure services; climate smart agriculture and fisheries; conserving ecosystems and building socioeconomic resilience. According to the Assessment, an estimated FJ$9.3 billion (US$4.5 billion) over 10 years is required to finance these interventions, in addition to maintenance and operation costs and social protection systems.
Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Climate Change, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Assessment is critical for climate and risk-informed development to strengthen the resilience of the Fijian economy.
“Assessing vulnerability to climate change is important for defining the risks posed by climate change and provides information for identifying adaptation measures. It enables practitioners and decision-makers to identify the most vulnerable areas, sectors and social groups. This in turn means, climate adaptation options targeted at specified contexts are developed and implemented,” said Minister Sayed-Khaiyum.
Michel Kerf, the World Bank’s Country Director for the Pacific Islands, said that the World Bank had set out to support Fiji with a comprehensive Assessment that would paint a realistic picture of the challenges ahead and provide a roadmap of recommended priorities for climate resilience.
“This Assessment presents, in stark terms, clear evidence of the costs of climate change,” said Kerf. “Yet crucially it also provides an evidence-based resource from which we can best support Fiji, and other island countries, in their drive towards more climate resilient development.”
The Climate Vulnerability Assessment was launched at COP23 alongside a 360-degree Virtual Reality (VR) experience, Our Home, Our People (www.ourhomeourpeople.com). The VR film and storytelling project is designed to transport COP23 delegates, decision-makers and the global community to Fiji to see the impacts of climate change for themselves.
Climate Vulnerability Assessment: Making Fiji Climate Resilient was produced by the Fijian Government in partnership with the World Bank and Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), with financial support from the European Union (EU) in the framework of the Africa Caribbean Pacific-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program, managed by GFDRR.