Climate Change adaptation guided by the law

The impacts of climate change are already being felt
in Fiji. Climate change has brought an increase in the
frequency of extreme events such as flooding, droughts
and cyclones as well as increasing sea level rise and
its associated impacts. Up until recently there were no
cohesive institutional frameworks in respect to climate
change present in Fiji. The introduction of Fiji’s National
Climate Change Policy in early 2012 has helped to solidify
the importance of climate change at the national level and
has helped to mainstream the issue of climate change at
different levels of the government and society. At present
there is no climate change legislation in Fiji, however
the initial steps to the formulation of climate change
legislation has begun in earnest with submissions to the
Cabinet already been made.
The importance of the introduction of Fiji’s National
Climate Change Policy cannot be overstated. The policy
provides a clearly defined position for the government
and other stakeholders on issues of climate change,
climate variability and sea level rise. Furthermore the
policy provides for coordination among stakeholders and
direction on national positions and priorities regarding
climate change mitigation and adaptation. This policy
also supports Fiji’s International obligations under the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) as well as other relevant conventions
and treaties. Prior to its introduction, coordinating and
effectively administrating matters pertaining to the issue
of climate change was difficult and slow. Now however
this policy provides a platform for addressing the issue of
climate change and facilitating the resulting adaptation
and mitigation strategies that need to be taken.
The governmental agency responsible for climate change
issues in Fiji is the Climate Change Unit, which falls
under the arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The
Climate Change Unit liaises with the relevant government
agencies and stakeholders in order to implement
climate change measures such as planning, mitigation
and adaptation tools within the various facets of the
government and community. The Climate Change Unit
is also responsible for heading the Fiji delegation in
international climate change negotiations.

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