Malekula Water Supply Project: Increase Resilience of Vulnerable and Marginalized Communities of Malekula Island through Integrated Water Resource Management and Ecosystem-based Interventions.

Malekula Water Supply Project: Increase Resilience of Vulnerable and Marginalized Communities of Malekula Island through Integrated Water Resource Management and Ecosystem-based Interventions.

Description

Description: 

The impacts of climate change are reducing the availability of fresh water in Malekula, with groundwater becoming increasingly saline because of saltwater intrusion and rainfall becoming increasingly erratic. 

 

The Government of Vanuatu has prioritised ecosystem-based approaches to adaption in the Vanuatu Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) Policy 2016-2030 to minimise the risks of climate change and disasters while enhancing local livelihoods resilience. This policy is aligned with the National Environment Policy 2016-2030 that prioritises climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures, as well as implementation of the CCDRR policy by 2030.

 

To address the growing climate risks to water resources, this project will apply an ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approach to ensure reliable and sustainable water supply for ni-Vanuatu communities under future climate conditions, specifically by protecting and restoring ecological infrastructure, complemented by introducing new, resilient water supply systems in northern Malekula, to provide communities with a reliable source of potable water (see Attachment 1 for concept note). This will shift the development pathway away from small, decentralised systems which are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, towards larger centralised systems which are resilient to the impacts of climate change, and which can be better monitored. Communities not connected to the centralised system will also benefit through the development of an emergency water supply protocol that will facilitate the provision of water to them both during and after extreme climatic events when local supplies are disrupted. The project framework is as follows:

 

  1. Project description: [Brief description of project, key activities and outputs, how will it be implemented?]

The impacts of climate change are reducing the availability of fresh water in Malekula, with groundwater becoming increasingly saline because of saltwater intrusion and rainfall becoming increasingly erratic. 

 

The Government of Vanuatu has prioritised ecosystem-based approaches to adaption in the Vanuatu Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) Policy 2016-2030 to minimise the risks of climate change and disasters while enhancing local livelihoods resilience. This policy is aligned with the National Environment Policy 2016-2030 that prioritises climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures, as well as implementation of the CCDRR policy by 2030.

 

To address the growing climate risks to water resources, this project will apply an ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approach to ensure reliable and sustainable water supply for ni-Vanuatu communities under future climate conditions, specifically by protecting and restoring ecological infrastructure, complemented by introducing new, resilient water supply systems in northern Malekula, to provide communities with a reliable source of potable water (see Attachment 1 for concept note). This will shift the development pathway away from small, decentralised systems which are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, towards larger centralised systems which are resilient to the impacts of climate change, and which can be better monitored. Communities not connected to the centralised system will also benefit through the development of an emergency water supply protocol that will facilitate the provision of water to them both during and after extreme climatic events when local supplies are disrupted. The project framework is as follows:

 

Component 1: Enabling environment for sustainable water management.

 

Output 1.1: Climate-resilient water management plans developed for Malekula, with supporting structures strengthened at the national and local levels.

Activity 1.1.1: Establish and capacitate a national working group to coordinate the integration of climate resilience into water management.

Activity 1.1.2: Develop climate-resilient water management plans for Malekula.

Activity 1.1.3: Establish/strengthen community-level water user associations.

Output 1.2: Policy frameworks developed for protection of water resources against climate change impacts.

Activity 1.2.1: Develop a cross-sectoral framework for integrated catchment management at the national level, including provision for the establishment of Water Protection Zones.

Activity 1.2.2: Introduce consumption-based tariff structures for centralised water supply in Northwest Areas A and B.

Component 2: Climate-resilient water supply systems

 

Output 2.1: Water supply in the Northeast Area of Malekula climate proofed.

Activity 2.1.1: Relocate boreholes in Lakatoro to reduce the impact of saltwater intrusion on centralised water supply.

Activity 2.1.2: Develop standard operating procedures.

 

Output 2.2: Water supply in the Northwest Areas A and B of Malekula augmented.

 

Activity 2.2.1: Install a centralised water extraction, purification and distribution system in Northwest Areas A and B.

Activity 2.2.2: Build technical capacity of communities to operate and maintain local water infrastructure in Northwest Areas A and B.

Output 2.3: Improved emergency water supply system developed for Malekula.

Output 2.3: Improved emergency water supply system developed for Malekula.

Activity 2.3.1: Develop a standard manual for emergency water supply during extreme climate-related events.

Activity 2.3.2: Provide additional water distribution tankers to increase emergency water distribution capacity during extreme climate-related events.

Activity 2.3.3: Establish a new water distribution centre in central Malekula to augment emergency water supply during extreme climate-related events.

Activity 2.3.4: Increase the storage capacity of rainwater harvesting systems to enhance the climate resilience of public institutions in areas without centralised water supplies.

Component 3: Climate-resilient catchment management on Malekula

 

Output 3.1: Climate-resilient catchment management plans implemented for three strategic catchment areas in northern Malekula.

Activity 3.1.1: Restore degraded forests within strategic catchment areas.

Activity 3.1.2: Promote the use of climate-resilient agricultural practices for subsistence farmers.

Activity 3.1.3: Establish community-based forest conservation areas.

Output 3.2: Climate change awareness programme implemented in Malekula focussing on the link between catchment management and sustainable water supply.

Activity 3.2.1: Conduct awareness-raising campaigns on sustainable water management targeting local communities.

Activity 3.2.2: Integrate climate-resilient water management into primary- and secondary-level educational curricula.

 

 

The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) work in freshwater centres on supporting countries to progressively improve the state of their freshwater ecosystems and improve water resources management so that threatened ecosystems become well managed, climate resilient, healthy and able to sustain their services for human needs, the mitigation of risks, economic development and ecology for present and future generations. 

 

UNEP is the custodian for three SDG 6 indicators 6.3.2; b) protecting and restoring freshwater ecosystems, SDG 6.6.1; c) advancing integrated water resources management (IWRM) approaches, SDG 6.5.1; and d) addressing water-related conflicts and disasters in support of peaceful and resilient societies, as embedded in SDGs 11, 13 and 16. UNEP’s role in the 2030 Agenda is to help countries monitor and report, and support actions to advance the targets 6.3, 6.5 and 6.6. Thereby UNEP plays a vital role in helping countries to implement the three aspects of water quality management, water resources management, and protection and restoration of freshwater ecosystems. 

 

UNEP mandate in this area is also strengthened and elaborated by requests made by its governing body, such as through UNEA Resolution EA 3/Resolution 10, “Addressing water quality to protect and restore water-related ecosystems,” which among other things asks UNEP to provide the necessary technical support to facilitate monitoring and reporting of SDG 6, to continue to adopt tools to address water pollution and ecosystem health, and to support countries in implementing IWRM approaches and address water-related impacts of disasters.

 

Through its programming, UNEP promotes science and evidence-based management and governance of water resources for its sustainable utilization.  For example, UNEP developed a decision-support system:  the Flood and Droughts Decision Support System (DSS), consisting of flood and drought management tools incorporating information from existing models, indicators and planning approaches. The tools incorporate impacts of climate variability including climatic scenarios into planning process across scales that enables stakeholders to develop future planning scenarios that are robust, resilient and pragmatic.

 

The Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (GEF-IWEco Project) is a five-year regional project that addresses water, land and biodiversity resource management as well as climate change. IWEco’s objective is to contribute to the preservation of Caribbean ecosystems that are of global significance and the sustainability of livelihoods through the application of existing proven technologies and approaches that are appropriate for small island developing states through improved fresh and coastal water resources management, sustainable land management and sustainable forest management that also seek to enhance resilience of socio-ecological systems to the impacts of climate change. This multi-focal regional project began in 2016.  The Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention, UNEP CAR/RCU and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) are the co-Executing Agencies. Partnership is a central tenet of the project which is being implemented through a network of international, regional and national partners.

 

The Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (MedPartnership) is a collective effort of leading environmental institutions and organizations together with countries sharing the Mediterranean Sea to address the main environmental challenges that Mediterranean marine and coastal ecosystems face through policy, legal and institutional reforms in the partner countries, as well as investments, to:

  • improve environmental conditions of pollution and biodiversity hotspots and other priority areas under stress;
  • promote the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources through integrated approaches;
  • reduce pollution from land-based sources;
  • enhance the protection of ‘critical’ habitats and species;
  • integrate climate considerations into national marine and coastal planning.

 

The MedPartnership is being led by the UNEP/Mediterranean Action Plan and is financially supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and other donors, including the European Commission and all participating countries: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Montenegro, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. 

 

The Global Environment Monitoring System for freshwater (GEMS/Water) was established in 1978 to collect world-wide water quality data for assessments of status and trends in global inland water quality.  GEMS/Water supports the Sustainable Development Goal for Water (SDG 6) with methodology support, data management, quality assurance, indicator calculation and capacity development. The GEMS/Water coordination centre is housed within the Science Division of UNEP and its full work plan and programme of work are anchored in SP 7, “Environment Under Review.” GEMS/Water has an external governing committee to review its work.

 

UNEP is actively engaged in a range of existing networks and partnership arrangements,  for example with those within the United Nations system and other outside organizations through UN-Water, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNESCO (including the World Water Assessment Programme), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the CEO Water Mandate under the United Nations Global Compact, and others. Global organizations with which UN Environment is engaged include the Gender Water Alliance, the Global Water Partnership (GWP), the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the research programme on water, land and ecosystems of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the International Lake Environment Committee (ILEC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).  

 

The UNEP has experience of implementing integrated water management initiatives in the Pacific Islands through the Global Environment Facility, including that in Vanuatu. Building on the best practices and outcomes of the UNEP, UNDP, and SPC regional Integrated Water Resources Management Programme and the current GEF Pacific Ride to Reef Programme, proposed project will strengthen the coordination of climate-resilient water supply systems in Malekula Island.  UNEP is also a delivery partner to Vanuatu’s National Adaptation Plan (under review by GCF), in which advancements in climate change risk assessments, sector plans and targets to progress adaptation, and policy and legal reviews and draft amendments will support the adaptation strategy in the current proposal. 

 

The development of the proposed concept note predates to 2016, with the request to develop the project made by the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change, Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Environment, Energy and Disaster Management. Three missions to Vanuatu have been undertaken by UNEP, where the Government provided significant support during those missions (along with the financial contribution of the Government of Korea). The findings resulting from the mission (Attachment 2) have been integrated in the revised The National Advisory Board (NAB) endorsed the Concept Note on 31 January 2017 (Attachment 3). UNEP initially submitted the concept to the GCF on 5 November 2019 and the GCF second review of the concept note was received on 30 July 2020. The CN has been revised based on successive reviews comments (Attachment 4) provided by the GCF, and additional studies focusing on island specific feasibilities, environment and social safeguards, amongst others, have been identified based on the GCF reviews. As a response to GCF review, Project Preparatory Fund (PPF) activities have been identified to prepare the Funding Proposal (Attachment 5).

 

The Vanuatu’s GCF Country Programme (March 2021)[1], identifies the need to scale-up adaptation solutions. While the Country Programme identifies “Community Conservation & Protected Areas Reach and Effectiveness for Local Resilience by up-scaling best practices” as priority project with UNEP, it is understood that this project is in reference to the proposed Malekula Water Supply Concept Note. The NAB endorsement is required for the revised concept note. In addition, the PPF application would require a No Objection Letter (NOL) from the Vanuatu NDA, and the request for NOL (Attachment 6) would need to follow the process of the NAB. The PPF is intended to be submitted to the GCF with the revised CN.

 

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