The “Enhancing the Climate Change Resilience of Vulnerable Island Communities in the Federated States of Micronesia” project is funded by the Adaptation Fund (AF) at USD 9 million over a period of four years from 2019 to 2023 and executed by the FSM Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management (DECEM) in partnership with state governments.
The overall goal of the project is to build social, ecological and economic resilience of the target island communities of FSM and reduce their vulnerabilities to extreme drought, sea level rise and other climate risks through water resource management, coastal resource and development planning, and by promoting gender perspectives through unheard perspectives and ecologically sound climate resilient livelihoods.
The activities of the project will be implemented in Pohnpei on Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro, in Yap on Woleai and Eauripik, in Chuuk on Satawan and Lukunor, and in Kosrae in Malem and Utwe municipalities.
One focus of the project is to develop a legislation draft and policy paper to strengthen the concerted effort to manage coastal and water resources as a whole of country response to climate change.
Additionally, the project will focus on encaging the target community population in actively involve community members in the orientation on climate change, sea level rise, vulnerable and adaptive capacity measures involving water, health, sanitation and environment on the islands. This includes hands on training on repairing of existing household rainwater harvesting systems and establishing maintenance support plans and educating all members of the community will assist in expanding and maintaining good supply of drinking water that will prove useful during drought periods.
Saving water and promoting health and sanitation habits is an adaptation strategy that the project will apply at the individual and household level that is very much required and will become useful when impacts of climate change are at its worse. The project will target the younger generation to build this habit and impact behavioural change. As such, the installation of self-composting toilets aims to promote water conservation, improve health and sanitation, as well as improve the island environment, through a significant reduction in pollution of the water ways and reefs. It will demonstrate the construction of self-composting toilets at schools and other community infrastructure such as community halls or church buildings.
The repair and construction of the water tanks and self-composting toilets will be carried out by community members (man, woman and youth) and supervised by experts and community leaders. This will provide the sense of ownership by the community and encouraged the traditional way of single economic unit or working together to meet their other needs.
The project will also support the State of Kosrae in developing and upgrading the inland road between Malem and Utwe, which was considered the highest priority for the state due to the current threats posed to vulnerable populations and infrastructure due to wave over-washing and potential breaching of the narrow coastal berm upon which much of the population of Utwe and Malem are located. Consequently, while the increase in sea level rise will mean destructive storm surges in the sector of Mosral and Paal in the immediate term and throughout the next five years, the project will upgrade the protection of these vulnerable points of the existing coastal road.
Systemically, the project will invest in climate resilient municipality development plans that will address sustainability in responding to climate change during and beyond the life of the project. The project will ensure linkages of these community development plans to state plans relative to water and or coastal and marine management. Additionally, the plans will link to the national climate change policy. It will set realistic goals that are achievable with support of development partners and secure political will and commitment of local municipality, state and national governments.