Legal frameworks for Ecosystem-Based Adaptation to Climate Change in the Pacific Islands

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Project Status
Start Date
Sunday, January 1, 2012
End Date
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Project Type
Project Scope
Project Objectives

This report is primarily directed to analysing the legal aspects of ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change. It sketches the impacts of climate change in the Pacific Island countries, recognizing that climate change directly impacts ecosystems, which provide for the needs of people as well as for the maintenance of the natural environment. It takes as a given that ecosystem-based adaptation can provide cost-effective strategies for reducing vulnerability to climate change impacts and enhancing ecosystem resilience, thereby maintaining ecosystem services and sustainable livelihoods. The report is written in light of the research reports completed by SPREP and Conservation International for this project (SPREP and Conservation International 2011). An essential aspect of the legal analysis is an examination of the way in which environmental governance operates in Pacific Island countries. The analysis is directed both to current formal legal systems as well as to customary mechanisms at the community level, exploring both potential barriers as well as the possibilities in the national legislation for achieving the aims of ecosystembased adaptation strategies. The report includes six brief legal case studies of more or less representative Pacific Island countries. The case studies provide a snapshot of the relevant legal frameworks in the selected jurisdictions in order to assess the suitability of those frameworks for providing a legally robust basis for ecosystembased adaptation. The report shows that appropriate legal mechanisms developed at the national level can play a key role in promoting adaptation, especially through restoring and maintaining ecosystem resilience, to address the effects of climate change. Also important are the regional environmental law instruments that currently operate in the Pacific region. While they are not examined in detail in this report, they have the potential to promote ecosystem-based adaptation strategies at the national level.