NATURE-BASED solution is Solomon Islands’ best mitigation and adaptation approach towards addressing the effects of climate change.
The concept encourages rural communities to revive traditional means and methods such as planting of trees and building seawalls using rocks.
Lord Howe Settlement located in the capital Honiara, is a lot safer from storm surges and sea level rise, thanks to a local businessman who built a nature-based seawall.
However, Lord Howe Settlement resident Leoray Panra said sea level rise and flooding continued to threaten communities despite initiatives like the construction of a seawall.
He said the Mataniko River was “eating up” the river bank threatening residents living close by.
“Our settlement is situated in a flood-prone area and our community usually inundated with water when it floods. Some people even get sick because of this. They suffer from diarrhea and other diseases because those living upstream are polluting the Mataniko River.
“We have tried our best to use nature-based solutions like building barricades along the river bank to avoid flooding but we realised that our efforts are not effective. We need a flood protection plan.
“I see the seawall built along Lord Howe settlement shoreline is only a short-term solution. The continual sea level rise in years to come will soon invade the seawall,” Panra said.
The growing population at Lord Howe Settlement has also stretched the limited land capacity.
“The best option is to relocate the community to higher ground and a much safer environment,” he said.
The launch of the Barana Nature Heritage Park and Environment and Resilience Centre on June 27 also kicked off tree planting and reforestation methods to mitigate climate change in Honiara.
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management Dr Culwick Togamana said the use of nature-based solutions to address the impacts of climate change was an appropriate approach for the Solomon Islands.
He says the Barana Nature Heritage Park was a beacon of hope and testimony to the Government and people of Solomon Islands.
Dr Togamana says ecosystem-based adaptation can simultaneously meet multiple objectives of adapting to climate change, mitigating climate change, promoting sustainable natural resource management and also attract sustainable development.
“Conservation without development is sterile and likewise development without conservation is unsustainable. The Solomon Islands Government has secured SBD100,000 from Global Environment Fund (GEF) Small Grant Programme to support further developments at the Barana Nature Park in the next two years,” he said.
He adds the fund will also expand the work of Barana Nature and Heritage Park to other parts of Honiara.
UN Habitat Officer of Solomon Islands Stephen Likaveke says Solomon Islands lacks financial resources and capacity to address effect of climate and that nature based solution is Solomon Islands’ best option to adapt and mitigate effect of climate change.
He says the UN Habitat has joint force and will continue to work with other NGOs such as Asia Development Bank’s – Greater Honiara Urban Strategy and Action Plan, SPREP and the government to draw up Honiara Resilience project.
“The government’s machinery, the government finance, the government capacity to do this level of research and planning is weak and that UN Habitat is trying to provide relevant and reliable document for the government to address needed issues.
“Our major focus of research and data collection is based on issues affecting informal settlements in Honiara,” Likaveke sa