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December, 14, 2010 00:00 Age: 7 yrs

Pacific Youth Environment Network (PYEN) Eco-Camp Workshop


Youth in the Pacific were able to witnessed and experienced social and environmental challenges faced by the people of the Rewa Delta, both as a result of climate and non-climate stresses. The University of the South Pacific's Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD), in collaboration with the Econesian Society/School of Islands and Oceans facilitated the PYEN Eco-camp workshop from the 30 November - 3 December, 2010 in Buretu Village, Tailevu Province located at the Rewa river delta, Fiji. The Rewa river is the widest river in Fiji. The PYEN workshop was funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

This is the year of Biodiversity and since climate change still continues to be a sensitive issue in the Pacific, the workshop was focussed on Biodiversity and Climate Change. The theme of this eco-camp workshop was an "Investment in Biodiversity is an investment in Climate Change Adaptation" with the aims to build capacity to young Pacific to understand the impact of climate change in our natural ecosystems and understand the importance of climate change through protecting our environment and conservation of our biodiversity. Through provision of relevant knowledge and skills, this initiative will empower future leaders to be environmentally conscious Pacific Islanders, capable of positive actions.

About twenty youth participants from Tuvalu, PNG, Kiribati, Tonga, Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Australia and Fiji were being adopted into a Fijian family at Buretu village. They were able to understand the customary way of living in a Fijian village and traditional knowledge on sustainable livelihood, to observe the importance and urgency of implementing adaptations solutions in a vulnerable community, and able to share with other youth participants and the community their experiences on climate change adaptation and biodiversity of their home country.

The Rewa river delta is less than 2m above high tide level. Consequently communities who live within this type of physiographic environment face various environmental and socio-economic problems and challenges. The impacts of current and future climate change will only further exacerbate these problems.

The Buretu village adaptation project is part of the "Climate Change Rural Adaptation in Fiji", a three year AusAID funded. The project was initiated in 2006 and concluded in June 2010. The project was managed by PACE-SD and jointly implemented with USP's IAS.

The project objectives were (1) to pilot climate change adaptation in an integrated approach to exposure sectors, and (2) to internalise climate change adaptation at rural communities


 

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