Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: Greater Port Vila

Executive Summary

This report constitutes the complete outputs of
the climate vulnerability a
ssessment carried out by
RMIT University for Port Vila,
Vanuatu throughout 2014. This act
ivity forms part of the broader
agenda for UN-Habitat’s Cities an
d Climate Change Initi
ative (CCCI) in the Pacific region. The
content contained in this report is based on knowledge
generated through three visits to the city by
both report authors, a variety of eng
agement activity (interviews, wor
kshops and a transect walk),
elicitation of local/traditional
knowledge, collating and analys
ing available primary data, and a
comprehensive desk-top analysi
s of relevant literature.
The first field trip was carried ou
t in April 2014 with a primary
aim of undertaking an actor and
policy mapping exercise. Activ
ity during this initial visit was pr
imarily interview-based and was used
to inform an initial scoping report. The second vi
sit, in July 2014, involve
d a weeklong series of
different engagement activities including interv
iews, workshops (hosted
by Shefa Provincial
Government and the Municipal Government), and a tr
ansect walk through th
e Blacksands informal
settlement. A final visit to gather feedback on
review of the report draft was conducted in
December 2014.
Given the limited availability (or inac
cessibility) of primary data to
support the assessment process –
more so than other CCCI cities that have alre
ady conducted vulnerability assessments – much of the
initial efforts from this first phase have been nec
essarily focused on collating the necessary data to
support steps 1 and 2 of the UN-Habitat
Planning for Climate Change
Process (Module A: what is
happening?) in order to establish a mo
re solid foundation for the assessment.
This vulnerability assessment rep
ort is in three main parts:
1) It documents the methodology and associa
ted activity (as mapped to the CCCI planning
structure) and identifies follow up actions;
2) It incorporates a first pass v
ulnerability assessment report that ha
s been completed adopting the
CCCI formatting used for other case studies
in the Asia-Pacific region; and
3) It highlights some of the initial findings that
have arisen in relation to
vulnerable communities – in
particular informal settlements - and some of th
e key issues that need to be addressed.
In addition to sea level rise and ocean acidificati
on in the city’s immediate
vicinity, a key climate-
related hazard identified by stakeholders was
localised flooding; a consequenc
e of both intense
rainfall but also urban dr
ainage issues. Susta
ining ecosystem services under
a changing climate is also
seen as critical in the Port Vila context, partic
ularly given the importance of tourism and agriculture
to the Pacific Island Nation. This
first phase of research also hig
hlighted the vulnerability of informal
settlements both in the urban a
nd peri-urban areas,
a consequence of their s
ensitivity, exposure, and
lack of adaptive capacity. Address
ing such issues is further co
mplicated by complex land tenure
arrangements. A full range of direct and indirect impact
s is addressed in the report and will form the
basis for
Planning for Climate Change
.

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