About a quarter of the population of Solomon Islands will learn skills that help them to adapt to more extreme weather events as the climate crisis worsens, under a new six-year project announced today by Save the Children and the Green Climate Fund.
The US$31.8 million climate resilience project will help children and communities in the low-lying Pacific Island nation adapt to the worsening impacts of the climate crisis. The Solomon Islands is one of the most vulnerable places in the world to rising sea levels and extreme weather events, like cyclones.
The project will include measures such as the incorporation of a climate change curriculum in schools, support for youth entrepreneurs to create new resilient livelihood opportunities, increasing communities’ food and water security through support for climate resilient farming and water conservation, increasing school resilience to climate change impacts and shoring up access to education during times of crisis.
According to research from the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV), Solomon Islands has the world’s second highest risk of disasters such as floods, cyclones and sea-level rise. With around two-thirds of people living within one kilometre of the coast,[ii] communities are extremely vulnerable to these kinds of extreme weather events, which are getting more frequent and severe as a result of the climate crisis.
About a quarter of Solomon Islands’ population – about 185,000 people – will benefit from the project, which is being rolled out in 170 remote and rural communities and 100 schools. It is estimated that a further 277,000 people will also benefit indirectly from the project.
The announcement follows the launch in Vanuatu last year of Save the Children’s first project with the GCF, the largest ever investment in locally-led climate change adaption globally, which is currently being rolled out.
Save the Children Australia CEO Mat Tinkler said:
“Extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent and severe due to the climate crisis, have a huge impact on children. Not only can cyclones, storms, floods, drought and sea level rise wipe out homes, they can rob children of their education and future opportunities.
“When schools close due to extreme weather events – something that happens regularly in Solomon Islands – there is a very high risk of children not returning again. Schools can also be critical in the recovery phase following a climate disaster, as these places of learning also provide a safe space where children can re-connect with their friends and experience stability.
“Of course, communities in Solomon Islands understand the threat posed by climate change and they know what they need. This locally-led project will provide the resources for children and their families to build on, develop and share their knowledge and skills to better safeguard their schools, education, and futures.”
The Green Climate Fund National Designated Authority (NDA) in Solomon Islands and the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Dr. Melchior Mataki, said:
“Climate change is already having adverse impacts on the people and livelihoods of communities in Solomon Islands. While Solomon Islands contributes minimal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, we are the most vulnerable and frontliners to the impacts of climate change.
“It is therefore appropriate in calling for the major emitters of GHG emissions to drastically reduce their emissions and continue supporting vulnerable countries like Solomon Islands to proactively implement adaptation and mitigation strategies and interventions to counter the negative impacts of climate change.
“Investment by international organisations and development partners like the Green Climate Fund is most welcome and will allow us to ensure that more people in Solomon Islands have the necessary tools and information to meet the growing challenges of climate change head on.”
GCF Executive Director a.i. Henry Gonzalez, said:
“GCF is pleased to partner with Save the Children Australia and the Government of Solomon Islands. This project will protect the most climate vulnerable communities in the Solomon Islands through the provision of innovative tools and measures. Following the approval and launch of the community-based adaption project in Vanuatu last year, this is the second project between GCF and Save the Children Australia, which represents the successful partnership between the two organisations to support Pacific Islands countries in helping them adapt to the impacts of climate change.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the world’s largest dedicated climate fund. GCF’s mandate is to foster a paradigm shift towards low emission, climate resilient development pathways in developing countries. GCF has a portfolio of projects and programmes across more than 100 countries. It also has a readiness support programme to build capacity and help countries develop long-term plans to fight climate change. GCF is an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and serves the 2015 Paris Agreement, supporting the goal of keeping average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Save the Children Australia in 2019 became the first development and humanitarian international NGO to be accredited by the GCF, allowing the organisation to partner with developing countries and apply for project funding. Save the Children Australia leverages its global network of specialist technical advisers working in climate change, disaster risk reduction, health, water and sanitation, livelihoods, agriculture, and food security to develop and deliver climate programs.
Save the Children has had a presence in Solomon Islands since 1986, delivering essential child protection, health, education, and disaster risk reduction programs. Save the Children works with Pacific governments, including Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu, to make schools safer for children, and helps children and their families prepare for, and recover from, disasters.
The development of the project was supported by Ikea Foundation, QBE and the USAID Climate Ready project.
The project is principally supported by a USD24.9 million grant from the GCF. Additional support has been provided by the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and Solomon Islands
Multimedia content featuring Jemma’s experience with the climate crisis in Solomon Islands can be found here: https://www.contenthubsavethechildren.org/Share/850obn74v8xv286j86ppkocp1f7k20kk.