Enhancing coastal protection / Nature-based seawalls in Fiji
Coastal protection / Nature-based seawalls
Fiji Ministry of Waterways
Amount of funding:
Fiji represents the microcosms of some of the most significant development and environmental challenges the world faces. With a total coastal length of 1,129 km, the Fijian coastline is expected to be amongst the regions most affected by climate change globally, negatively affecting the approximately 720,000 people (90% of the country’s population) who live within 30 km of Fiji’s coast.
Since 1993, Fiji has recorded a 6 millimetre (0.2 inches) increase in its sealevel per year, larger than the global average. For Fiji, sea levels are projected to increase between 0.1 and 0.3m by 2055 and 0.16 to 0.62 m by 2090. Given climate change projections for Fiji, coastal inundation is expected to increase, with increased requests for the provision of coastal protection (Kennedy et al., 2012; Hoeke et al., 2013).
It is projected in a Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning (PACCSAP) report that Fiji will experience extreme climate variability under future climate scenarios. For example, changes in rainfall patterns and drought frequency because of climate change are expected to impact negatively on water resources, agricultural output, livelihoods, public health, and the economy. Also, annual mean temperatures and extremely high daily temperatures will continue to rise. Moreover, the frequency and intensity of cyclones and extreme weather events are projected to increase. Fiji has already experienced the devastating category 5 tropical cyclone Winston in 2016.
The use of a nature-based solution will address the longevity of the protection infrastructure. The creation or restoration of coastal habitats through hybrid and soft ecological engineering aims to recover shoreline protection services along with other ecosystem services. The mangrove seedlings will be the first line of defence of the seawall towards the sea. The hard structures in the forms of boulders will be the next component of the seawall protecting further erosion as mangroves grow. Vetiver grass will be planted behind the seawalls to hold these diment sand backfill in place through its root. Data collection and monitoring will allow to improve our understanding of coastal dynamics with NbS seawalls.
Moreover, the project addresses objectives NbS for climate adaptation and seeks to address underlying drivers of global environmental degradation. The project addresses the most appropriate following:
a. Climate change mitigation and adaptation
b. Disaster risk reduction
c. Economic and social development
d. Environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.
Essentially, this project seeks to deliver impact at scale by addressing key underlying drivers of climate change and coastal erosion. Coastal erosion issues are strenghtened through mangrove loss due to anthropogenic causes and induced climate alterations. The project sets options directly to support the implementation NbS for Climate Adaptation.
The project further supports the strategy of delivering the highest impacts, cost-effectively. The project maximises the global environmental benefits it generates from its funding by pursuing cost-effective solutions to major environmental challenges. Given the project design, it can be expected that through this, there will be a massive reduction incoastal erosion, loss of mangrove ecosystem, rivers and streams/water which is extremely essential to coastal communities in Fiji. This project illustrates the transformative impacts and multiple environmental and economic benefits that can be achieved through the establishment of mangrove nurseries and community involvement and its rippling effects on the economy.
Project objectives ?
The overall objective is to reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities, coastal inundation,and erosion through the provision of nature-based seawalls, as hybrid solutions.
The Project aims to reduce the vulnerability of 6 sites to coastal inundation and erosion. The proposed project has inter-related outputs that not only aim to achieve impacts on site but also to create enabling conditions for scaling up and replicating the project impact beyond the immediate target areas. Each of these outputs comprises a set of activities, which in turn have been designed to remove specific barriers that impede the achievement of the climate change vulnerability reduction objective. The theory of change for this project demonstrates how the implementation of project activities will lead to shortand long term outputs of the project. These outputs will further lead outcomes which include the reduced vulnerability of Fiji to the future impact of climate change, reduced loss from potential natural disasters, enhanced livelihoods, and food security. All these outcomes contribute to strengthening the climate-resilient sustainable development of the country.
- Strengthening communities, institutions for awareness and knowledge of coastal management.
- Reducing the vulnerability of coastal livelihood and infrastructure.
- Nature-based seawall established for long term adaptation efforts and biodiversity creation.
Coastal flooding, riverbank erosion, and sedimentation is a high political priority for Fiji. In recent years the Government of Fiji has launched policy documents that are aimed to guide Fiji’s development in the next 20 years mitigating its development challenges considering climate change.
These documents include the 5-Year & 20-Year National Development Plan, the National Green Growth Framework for Fiji, and the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Framework. The Government of Fiji has embodied in its overall 5-Year & 20-Year National Development Plan its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is committed to achieving these goals. Moreover, in August 2014, the Fiji Government launched the first National Green Growth Framework for Fiji to restore the balance in development that is sustainable for our future. The Framework is in line with the Rio+20 outcome that states that green growth should be a tool to support development that is sustainable. The 2018 National Adaptation Plan and the recently enacted Climate Change Act 2021 all points to Fiji’s serious commitment to climate change eradication.