Climate Change adaptation guided by the law
www.dlapiper.com THE LAW OF CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION IN THE PACIFIC - FIJIThe impacts of climate change are already being feltin Fiji. Climate change has brought an increase in thefrequency of extreme events such as flooding, droughtsand cyclones as well as increasing sea level rise andits associated impacts. Up until recently there were nocohesive institutional frameworks in respect to climatechange present in Fiji. The introduction of Fiji’s NationalClimate Change Policy in early 2012 has helped to solidifythe importance of climate change at the national level andhas helped to mainstream the issue of climate change atdifferent levels of the government and society. At presentthere is no climate change legislation in Fiji, howeverthe initial steps to the formulation of climate changelegislation has begun in earnest with submissions to theCabinet already been made.The importance of the introduction of Fiji’s NationalClimate Change Policy cannot be overstated. The policyprovides a clearly defined position for the governmentand other stakeholders on issues of climate change,climate variability and sea level rise. Furthermore thepolicy provides for coordination among stakeholders anddirection on national positions and priorities regardingclimate change mitigation and adaptation. This policyalso supports Fiji’s International obligations under theUnited Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange (UNFCCC) as well as other relevant conventionsand treaties. Prior to its introduction, coordinating andeffectively administrating matters pertaining to the issueof climate change was difficult and slow. Now howeverthis policy provides a platform for addressing the issue ofclimate change and facilitating the resulting adaptationand mitigation strategies that need to be taken.The governmental agency responsible for climate changeissues in Fiji is the Climate Change Unit, which fallsunder the arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. TheClimate Change Unit liaises with the relevant governmentagencies and stakeholders in order to implementclimate change measures such as planning, mitigationand adaptation tools within the various facets of thegovernment and community. The Climate Change Unitis also responsible for heading the Fiji delegation ininternational climate change negotiations.