Fiji

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Country Overview

Capital: Suva
Land: 18,272 sq km
EEZ: 1.26 million sq km
Population: 837,271 (2007)
Language: English, Fijian, Hindi
Currency: Fiji Dollar
Economy: Agriculture, clothing, fisheries, forestry, tourism and sugar

 

The Republic of Fiji is an island nation with an estimated population of 837,271 people (2007) and an annual population growth of 0.8%. There are an estimated 330 islands, of which approximately one third are inhabited. Fiji has a total land mass of 18,333 sq km, with Viti Levu (10,429 sq km) and Vanua Levu (5,556 sq km) constituting 87% of the total. The islands are characterized by diverse ecosystems including significant areas of natural forest. Wide ranges of coastal and marine ecosystems exist, ranging from extensive areas of mangroves to various coral formations. Fiji has an exclusive economic zone of 1.26 million square kilometres.

Fiji is composed of large mountainous islands, which are largely of volcanic origin, such as Viti Levu and Vanua Levu (which take up 87% of the total land area), and numerous small volcanic islands, low-lying atolls and elevated reefs. The largest islands have a diverse range of terrestrial ecosystems, including extensive areas of indigenous forest. The high islands have distinct wet and dry sides due to prevailing wind patterns. Coastal ecosystems include mangroves, algae and sea-grass beds in shallow reef and lagoon areas, and various reef types such as barrier, fringing platform and atoll or patch reefs.

Fiji has a mild tropical climate with plentiful rain under prevailing conditions. It is, however, subject to potentially catastrophic climate events such as cyclones, flooding and multiple landslips that can have a major impact on the economy and infrastructure. The predicted climate change and sea level rise could have profound consequences for some urban centers, agriculture and coastal development.

Fiji has one of the largest economies among Pacific Island Countries (PICs), and is one of the PICs least dependent on foreign aid. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Fiji was US$3.78 billion in 2008, or US$3,900 per person. The GDP grew by 1.2% in 2008 after shrinking by 6.6% in 2007. Even though 70% of the Fijian workforce is in the agricultural sector, agriculture and industry together account for less than 25% of GDP. The rest comes from the service sector, mostly from tourism. Within the agricultural and industry sectors, sugar production and processing are by far the most important economic activities. Sugar processing makes up one-third of all industrial activity, and sugar is the country’s primary export product. Other agricultural products produced in the country include coconuts, tapioca, rice, sweet potatoes, and bananas, but these are primarily used for domestic consumption.

 

Date updated: March 2016

National Climate Change Priorities

Fiji identified eight climate change priorities under its 2012 Policy outlined as objectives with a number of strategies to achieve these objectives and are summarised in the following areas:

Priority Area

Objective

  1. Mainstreaming

Integrate climate change issues in all national and sector policy and planning processes.

  1. Data collection, storage and sharing

Collect, manage and use accurate and scientifically sound climate change-related data and information.

  1. Awareness raising

Increase awareness and understanding of climate change-related issues across all sectors and at all levels in Fiji.

  1. Education and training

Integrate climate change in school curricula, tertiary courses, and vocational, non-formal education and training programmes.

  1. Adaptation

Reduce the vulnerability and enhance the resilience of Fiji’s communities to the impacts of climate change and disasters.

  1. Mitigation

Reduce Fiji’s greenhouse gas emissions and implement initiatives to increase the sequestration and storage of greenhouse gases.

  1. Financing

Ensure sustainable financing for climate change efforts.

  1. International and Pacific region participation.

Effectively participate in and contribute to international and Pacific region climate change negotiations, discussions, commitments and outcomes.

 

Date updated: March 2016

Governance

The People’s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress (December 2008) serves as the umbrella framework for national development. The Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development 2009–2014 defines the implementation framework for the Charter. The National Climate Change Policy serves as an implementing tool for many of the strategies outlined in the Charter, such as:

  • environmental protection, sustainable management and utilisation of natural resources;
  • strengthening institutional capacity for environmental management; and
  • strengthening food security

Fiji ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1993 as a Non-Annex 1 Party and became legally compelled to adopt and implement policies and measures intended to adapt and to mitigate the effects of climate change.

 In 2012, Fiji endorsed its National Climate Change Policy facilitated by the NCCCT and guided by the NCCCC. The policy provides a platform for coordination among sectors, and direction on national positions and priorities regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation. The implementation framework of the policy has allowed Fiji to develop a Coordination guideline, Finance Guideline and Relocation Guideline that will enable the policy to achieve its goals in addressing climate change in Fiji.

The Climate Change Unit situated under the Ministry of Finance is responsible for delivering the National Climate Change Policy and co-ordinating climate change programmes and projects in Fiji. It acts as the secretariat of the Fiji National Climate Change Coordinating Committee (NCCCC) which comprises of Permanent Secretaries and senior officials of line ministries and is responsible for overseeing the coordination of Climate Change issues in Fiji. 

 The operational arm of the NCCC is the National Climate Change Country Team (NCCCT) which acts as the main platform for information sharing and climate change project progress reporting. The NCCCT is chaired by the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and consists of representatives from a range of government agencies, non-governmental organisations and academic institutions.

Date updated: March 2016

Adaptation

Fiji’s adaptation strategies are:

  1. Integrate related disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation strategies and actions into national and sectoral planning to streamline responses.
  2. Include vulnerability assessments and climate change impact projections into resource management planning, such as integrated coastal and watershed management plans.
  3. Incorporate climate change impact projections into infrastructure and urban and rural planning.
  4. Develop sustainable adaptation technologies and systems that take traditional knowledge into account and are culturally acceptable.
  5. Support the ecosystem-based approach throughout Fiji, recognising that ecosystem services, such as food security, natural hazard mitigation and physical coastal buffer zones, increase resilience.
  6. Develop and make accessible hazard maps of coastal, riverine, urban and inland areas in Fiji, using the comprehensive hazard assessment and risk management (CHARM) tool to guide all development planning.
  7. Assess poverty, health and food security issues to determine their vulnerability to climate change, and consider these vulnerabilities in future policies and initiatives
  8. Improve disaster response capacity and access to public health facilities, emergency services, communication services and evacuation centres.
  9. Build the capacity of the health and agriculture sectors to respond effectively to climate sensitive diseases, including the strengthening of disease surveillance and control systems, and early warning mechanisms for climate sensitive human and livestock diseases.
  10. Use appropriate consultation mechanisms for the participation of all members of the community in the planning, management and implementation of adaptation measures.
  11. Mobilise resources and all sectors to support the implementation of relevant national adaptation strategies and plans, such as the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, the planned joint national action plan for CCA and DRM and the National Disaster Risk Management Plan.
  12. Strengthen early warning systems to ensure effective and timely communication to the public, with particular attention paid to isolated, hazard-prone and disadvantaged areas.
  13. Implement best practice adaptation measures, based on sound scientific research, and lessons learnt from local, regional and international experiences.
  14. Undertake national research to identify effective adaptation measures to support sector-specific adaptation and disaster risk reduction responses.
  15. Establish a monitoring and evaluation system to determine the success of national, sectoral and local adaptation initiatives.

Date updated: March 2016

Current Climate

The annual and half-year maximum and minimum temperatures have been increasing at both Suva and Nadi Airport since 1942 with trends significant at the 5% level in all cases except Nadi Airport November–April maximum temperature. Minimum air temperature trends are greater than maximum air temperature trends. The annual numbers of cool days and cool nights have decreased and warm nights have increased at both sites. Warm days have increased at Suva. These temperature trends are consistent with global warming. Annual, half-year and extreme daily rainfall trends show little change at Suva and Nadi Airport since 1942.

Tropical cyclones affect Fiji mainly between November and April, and occasionally in October and May during El Niño years. An average of 28 cyclones per decade developed within or crossed Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between the 1969/70 and 2010/11 seasons. Twenty-five out of 78 (32%) tropical cyclones between the 1981/82 and 2010/11 seasons became severe events (Category 3 or stronger) in Fiji’s EEZ. Available data are not suitable for assessing long-term trends. Wind-waves around Fiji are typically not large, with wave heights around 1.3 m year-round. Seasonally, waves are influenced by the trade winds, location of the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ), southern storms, and cyclones, and display little variability on inter-annual time scales with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Southern Annular Mode (SAM) (see Box 1). Available data are not suitable for assessing long-term trends.

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (2014).

Future Climate

For the period to 2100, the latest global climate model (GCM) projections and climate science findings for Fiji indicate:

  • El Niño and La Niña events will continue to occur in the future (very high confidence), but there is little consensus on whether these events will change in intensity or frequency;
  • Annual mean temperatures and extremely high daily temperatures will continue to rise (very high confidence);
  • There is a range in model projections in mean rainfall, with the model average indicating little change in annual rainfall but an increase in the November–April season (low confidence), with more extreme rain events (high confidence);
  • The proportion of time in drought is projected to decrease slightly (low confidence);
  • Ocean acidification is expected to continue (very high confidence) and the risk of coral bleaching will increase in the future (very high confidence);
  • Sea level will continue to rise (very high confidence);
  • Wave height is projected to decrease across the Fiji area in the wet season, with a possible small increase in dry season wave heights (low confidence).

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (2014).

Climate Information Services

The Fiji Meteorology Service provides the following climate information services for monitoring climate trends:

  • Monthly climate summary report (with seasonal forecasts)
  • Monthly rainfall outlook
  • Fiji Sugar Cane Rainfall Outlook (go to Fiji Sugar Cane Corporation)
  • Bulletin for renewable energy sector (hydro) – (go to Fiji Electricity Authority)

Date updated: March 2016

Knowledge Management & Education

Fiji’s Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) 2012-2014, aims to provide a “holistic and empowering education system that enables all children to realise and appreciate fully their inheritance and potential contributing to peaceful and sustainable national development.” In the current curriculum elements of climate change are addressed in basic science (form 3 and 4), biology (form 6 and 7), physics (form 6 and 7) and geography (form 6 and 7) in secondary education. In Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) environmental changes are addressed in agricultural science (form 3 to 7). However, in Nadi, September 2011, the Fiji Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture & Arts identified the need to strengthen existing learning outcomes and education materials and conduct national consultations to ensure learning is sufficient to adequately increase students’ capacities to deal with climate change impacts and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Achievements:

  • In 2012 the Ministry of Education endorsed a strategy to implement Objective 4 on Training and Education from the NCCP (2012) and prior work plans aiming at integrating climate change in school curricula, tertiary courses, and vocational, non-formal education and training programmes (including Special Education Schools).
  • The Curriculum Development Unit is chairing a new national sub-working group on climate change training and education under the Climate Change Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
  • Through a series of workshops curriculum development officers have strengthened and integrated relevant content and learning outcomes on climate change and disaster risk management in Basic and Social Science, Geography, Agriculture, Industrial Arts and Home Economics. The key concepts will be introduced in classes 7 and 8.
  • Based on a stocktake of existing and utilized teaching and awareness resources the children story book ‘Pou and Miri’ has been identified as a useful teaching resource and has been handed over to the Ministry to distribute to all Fijian primary schools (in English and VosaVakaViti).
  • The I-Taukei climate change glossary has been handed over to the Ministry of Education.
  • An environmental alphabet poster has been developed with the Ministry of Education and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti for all primary school children, showing native animals and plants.
  • National consultation on the climate change and disaster risk elements in the new curriculum.
  • Provision of existing education and awareness materials relating to climate change and disaster riskmanagement of various agencies on the national climate change web-portal.
  • Integrate new climate change and disaster risk management relevant curriculum elements into the national teacher pre- and in-service training.
  • Training of lecturers and teachers on the use of the ‘Picture-based outreach toolkit on climate change’.[3]

For additional information on knowledge management and education on climate change, visit the department and project websites listed below:

Date updated: March 2016

Mitigation

Fiji’s mitigation strategies are:

  1. Develop joint programmes and cooperation agreements between relevant sectors to reduce and avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  2. Develop and implement national, industrial, commercial (such as the tourism, agriculture and mining sectors) and household energy efficiency programmes, including provision of rebates, incentives and disincentives.
  3. Assess and utilise appropriate renewable energy sources, such as wave, tidal, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biofuel and biomass.
  4. Support the implementation of the Fiji REDD-Plus Policy, the Fiji Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, the National Air Pollution Control Strategy, the Ozone Depleting Substances Decree, the National Energy Policy, the Clean Development Mechanism Policy Guideline and other relevant national polices and strategies on the reduction of GH emissions, deforestation, forest degradation and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
  5. Access international financing instruments to support renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management and carbon trading initiatives.
  6. Control and reduce emissions from existing private and public vehicles.
  7. Control the ages of imported and second-hand vehicles and introduce alternative fuel powered vehicles.
  8. Develop activities and infrastructure that promote the reduction and avoidance of fossil fuel consumption (for example, construct proper walking and cycling lanes).
  9. Support the enforcement of legislation on open burning in residential and commercial locations, as stated by the Environment Management Act (2005).
  10. Formalise collaboration arrangements and commitments of members of committees working in the area of climate change mitigation, such as the Carbon Trading Technical Team, and the Fiji REDD-Plus Steering Committee.

One project that is currently under implementation and is the EU Adapting to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy.

Government of Fiji Rural Electrification Programme

DOE's 2008 Business Plan has over forty activities. Of the 40 activities, 15 are renewable energy activities with a total budget of FJD2 million. These are the co-financing activities in Fiji and include the following:

For addition information go to website of the following:

Formulation of Net-Metering Policy Framework

The Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA) - the only state owned electricity utility in Fiji - is keen to buy electricity from grid-connected systems through net-metering, and has the necessary legislation in place to do so.

This project was announced by FEA’s Chief Information Officer, Mr AnandNanjangud, during the Small Developing Island Renewable Energy Knowledge and Technology Transfer Network-Project DIREKT-organised workshop held at the University of the South Pacific on 16 March 2012.

The workshop focused on the economics, application and legislation relating to renewable energy and was attended by 55 participants from four government departments, three regional agencies, the private sector and members of the public.

The workshop also looked at evaluating the economics of the use of solar PV systems, and the steps that would be required to facilitate the installation and use of grid-connected PV systems in Fiji.

For additional information and contacts, visit the websites listed below or contact the national focal points

Date updated: March 2016

Focal points - Climate change & Disaster Risk Management

Climate change
Mr Joshua Wycliffe

Permanent Secretary for 
Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Environment
PO Box 2131
Government Buildings, SUVA, Fiji
Tel: (679) 3317 201; 3304 364
Fax: (679) 3303 515
Email: josua.wycliffe@govnet.gov.fj 

Mr. Aminiasi Qareqare
Acting Director
Department of Environment
PO Box 2109
Government Buildings
SUVA, Fiji
Tel: (679) 3311 699
Fax: (679) 3312 879
Email:  aminiasq@gmail.com /aminiasi.qareqare@environment.gov.fj

Mr. Ovini Ralulu
Director, Climate Change
Department of Strategic Planning & National Development
Ministry of Finance,
Level 3, Ro Lalabalavu House
Victoria Parade
Suva, Fiji
Tel: (679)331 3411 ext.382208
Fax: (679) 330 4809
Email: oralulu@planning.gov.fj; ovine.sawiri@gmail.com

Disaster risk management
Akapusi Tuifagalele

Director
National Disaster Management Office
P. O. BOX 2219, Government Buildings,
Suva
Tel: 3313400 ext 354136
Mob 1 +679 9934306
Fax +679 3319315
Email: akapusi.tuifagalele@govnet.gov.fj

Alan Bell
Disaster Risk management Specialist
National Disaster Management Office
P. O. BOX 2219, Government Buildings,
Suva
Tel 1: 3216454
Fax +679 3319315
Email: allan.bell.dcs@gmail.com

Date updated: March 2016

References

  1. The following references have been used to develop the country profile.  All sources of information are from local, regional and international agencies.  The profile is reviewed by the national focal point for accuracy.  Any error or missing information is regretted and we encourage you to report by emailing the focal point.
  2. Dohan, Rosemary; Hove, Hilary; Echeverría, Daniella; Hammill, Anne; Parry, Jo-Ellen. (2011) “Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: The Pacific.” Adaptation Partnership / International Institute for Sustainable Development.
  3. Fiji (n.d.) Climate Change Plan. Press release. Retrieved from http://www.fiji.gov.fj/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3476:climate-change-policy&catid=71:press-releases&Itemid=155
  4. Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands [GRFI] (2009). Our Country. Retrieved from Fiji Government Online Portal: http://fiji.gov.fj/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=645&Itemid=196
  5. Hay, J. (2011). Preparing Fiji’s National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS). Presentation to the National Climate Change Country Team. Suva, Fiji. 20 March 2011. Retrieved fromhttp://www.pacificdisaster.net/pdnadmin/data/original/FJI_NCCAS_2011_preparation.pdf
  6. Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (2014). Climate Variability, Extremes and Change in the Western Tropical Pacific: New Science and Updated Country Reports. Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program Technical Report, Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Commonwealth
  7. Republic of Fiji, National Climate Change Policy, 2012. Accessed on 29 May 2013:http://www.foreignaffairs.gov.fj/images/Fiji%20National%20Climate%20Change%20policy.pdf
  8. Republic of Fiji: second national communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. - Suva, Fiji: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2014.
  9. http://www.foreignaffairs.gov.fj/images/Fiji%20National%20Climate%20Change%20policy.pdf, p. 24.
  10. Republic of Fiji, National Climate Change Policy, 2012. Accessed on 29 May 2013:http://www.foreignaffairs.gov.fj/images/Fiji%20National%20Climate%20Change%20policy.pdf
  11. http://www.sprep.org/Pacific-Islands-Greenhouse-Gas-Abatement-through-Renewable-Energy-Project/about-piggarep
  12. http://www.sprep.org/Pacific-Islands-Greenhouse-Gas-Abatement-through-Renewable-Energy-Project/pacific-islands-greenhouse-gas-abatement-through-renewable-energy-project-piggarep-fiji-interventions
  13. Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change
  14. Pacific Climate Futures Tool
  15. Pacific Environment Information Network (PEIN) Country Profile: Fiji
  16. Pacific Regional Information System (PRISM)
  17. Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement Through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP)
  18. Population Geographical Information System (PopGIS)
  19. UNDP Regional Centre: Asia and the Pacific
  20. Waitabu Marine Reserve

Date updated: March 2016