Building resilience on Aitutaki

Wednesday 16 May 2018 | Published in Outer Islands


Building resilience on Aitutaki
CCCI representative Arun Rijal at Papa Manapori's farm on Aitutaki. PHOTO: CCCI. 18051541

The island of Aitutaki has been busy improving its resilience to the effects of climate change.

Arun Rijal and Melina Tuiravakai from Climate Change Cook Islands (CCCI) have just returned from Aitutaki where they visited farms, coastal areas, and nurseries to monitor progress being made.

The five-year Strengthening the Resilience of our Islands and our Communities to Climate Change (SRIC-CC) initiative aims to strengthen the ability of islands and communities in the outer islands to manage the anticipated consequences of climate change. The SRIC-CC aims to carry out these improvements in a “pro-active, integrated and strategic manner”.

The programme supports the implementation of the Cook Islands’ new Joint National Action Plan (JNAP) for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA).

The programme is funded by the Adaptation Fund, established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Since 2010 it has committed $694.88 million to 76 countries, to assist with climate adaptation and resilience activities.

The SRIC-CC takes a three-pronged approach, focusing on the implementation of on-the-ground adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures at island and community levels. This is integrated with sustainable island development processes and is supported through enhanced national institutional and knowledge management capacities and initiatives.

Famers from Aitutaki supply both the local and tourist markets with fresh fruit and vegetables and the SRIC-CC initiative has provided them with support in the way of organic fertiliser and training on the use of organic composting.

“Farms visited showcased a variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits - including coffee, pawpaw, passionfruit, bananas, watermelon, pineapple, noni, custard apple, dragon fruit, sweet potato, capsicum and tomatoes. It was also great to see new farmers planting and providing for their families”, a CCCI media release said.

Coastal areas on Aitutaki have also been planted with an array of trees including tou, tamanu, miro, and coconut. These areas are exposed to strong waves during natural disasters. Some initial planting has taken place and the team at the Aitutaki Agriculture Nursery will be replanting more areas next month, as well monitoring trees as they become established. Over 600 plants have been replanted and the nursery continues to plant seedlings.

The SRIC-CC programme has worked with over 200 individuals on community-based resilience initiatives on 11 of the outer islands. Although the programme officially ended at the beginning of this month, the impacts and awareness created can be seen across the country, says CCCI.