The objective of this voluntary commitment is promote sustainable development and implement more effective frameworks to manage Fijis coastal ecosystems and, as a result, protect the well-being and food security of Fijians in maritime regions.
Fijis coastal environment presents a great diversity and wealth of environmental resources, that, in itself, is a natural asset for food security, livelihoods, recreation and economic value for the country as a whole. Fiji's coastal environment is made up of an assemblage of resources including coral reefs, mangroves, beaches, and forests. These resources form the basis of the Fijian culture, employment, and food supply and therefore need to be well maintained to meet the needs of current and future generations.
An estimated 90% of Fijis 800,000 people are considered coastal dwellers. Despite increasing urbanisation, 54% of the population is rural, with local communities still heavily dependent on natural resources for subsistence and livelihoods. However, pressures from social and economic development, and threats such as urban and rural land use, pollution and waste management, unsustainable fishing practices, increasing tourism development and unsustainable agricultural practices are degrading Fijis coastal ecosystems, putting them at an even higher risk to climate change. In addition, existing laws, policies, regulations, and institutions relating to coastal zone management are inadequate to effectively manage this valuable national asset and address threats to Fijis coastal areas.
With guidance of the National Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Framework, a model Integrated Coastal Management Plan (ICMP) was developed for the Province of Ra, Fiji. National guidelines were also developed for leading ICM processes, and developing provincial-scale ICMP, that take a ridge-to-reef approach to recognise the connectivity between land and sea. The ICMP serves as an overarching framework to implement new development opportunities, while addressing priority threats and issues in the province. A multi-stakeholder ICM Committee oversees and provides technical guidance on ICM processes and plans in Fiji.
Restoration of ecosystem services and adaptation to climate change by coastal communities is imperative to ensure healthy and sustainable livelihoods. Adaptation among coastal communities includes alternative waste management options, community and private sector wastewater management, freshwater fishing practices and community-based protected areas in rivers and streams; riparian buffer restoration; community-based Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) within larger Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) and coastal fisheries enforcement; mangroves rehabilitation and protection; erosion-control; farming practices and cattle ranching; reforestation; and sustainable agroforestry models. Restoration efforts are already underway in the Province of Ra and Kadavu, Fiji.
Ridge-to-reef, or land-sea planning and management, integrates land, forest, water and coastal ecosystems, to preserve biodiversity, ecosystem services, store carbon, improve climate resilience and sustain livelihoods. Priority catchments encompass critical interphase between land, forests and freshwater system that have direct outflow to the ocean. Fiji contains a diverse range of coastal ecosystems with varying habitats, geographic environments and intensity of land use that provide an ideal suite of learning environments for biodiversity conservation, forest carbon stock protection and enhancement and integrated natural resources management.
3. By 2020, with strong support from the Department of Environment, the Department of Lands will adopt and implement the Mangrove Management Plan to ensure the long-term protection and wise management of mangroves forests and the critical ecosystem services they provide to Fiji.
1. By 2030, the Department of Environment will ensure that the national guidelines for the content, process, monitoring and evaluation for a National Integrated Coastal Management Plan is endorsed and adopted.
2. By 2030, the Department of Environment will scale up implementation of the Provincial Integrated Management Plan, which supports sustainable development in ten provinces based on current and future development and ensures a balanced approach is taken that will not cause irreversible impacts to ecosystems and the communities who are dependent on them.
4. By 2030, the Department of Environment, civil societies and participating communities in the Provinces of Ra, Kadavu Bua, Macuata, Cakaudrove, Lau, Naitasiri, Rewa, Nadroga and Ba will demonstrate appropriate methodology for adaptation and resilience among coastal communities in the context of global climate changes, strengthen and sustain integrated coastal management through restoration of ecosystem services to ensure healthy and sustainable livelihoods.
a) Asian Development Bank/Coral Triangle Initiative: Integrated Coastal Management Plan Phase 1 US$1.2m Phase 2: US$364,964.00
In collaboration with other partners the Department of Environment will continue to fundraise to support scaling up of ICMP at Provincial level (World Conservation Society US$50,000, In-kind US$30,000; Conservation International US$50,000)