RMIT is collaborating with local communities and partners to develop and launch urban resilience and climate adaptation plans throughout the Pacific region.
The University's strategic engagement with partners in the region continues to go from strength to strength in support of urban resilience efforts.
Professor Darryn McEvoy, lead scientific advisor to UN-Habitat’s "Cities and Climate Change Initiative", and Alexei Trundle have agreed to a third phase of work in the project’s extension.
This continuing program of research activity will develop and launch urban resilience and climate adaptation plans for Honiara, Solomon Islands and Port Vila, Vanuatu, following a sustained period of partnership working.
"Although the development of action plans has been driven by the challenges of a changing climate it has been necessary to broaden their focus," McEvoy said.
"We have to consider natural hazards and the more immediate development needs of fast growing urban areas and in particular the sensitivity of informal settlements."
In addition to this project, McEvoy is leading a new project in Vanuatu examining ecosystem services and how they contribute to community resilience in Port Vila and surrounding areas.
This is the initial phase of the five-year Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) project, funded by the German Government and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
A local community survey and workshop activity for the PEBACC project is now underway, coordinated by the local civil society group, Vatu Mauri Consortium.
The consortium is supported by RMIT consultants Naomi de Ville and Aimée Dixson with their expertise in ecology and marine science.
The outcomes from this engagement process will be analysed to prioritise a portfolio of local resource management activities.
These activities will support the second phase of the project, which seeks to maximise the impact of Ecosystem-based Adaptation measures for the communities in and around Port Vila.
Professor McEvoy is leading a further project through an USAID proposal on pro-poor adaptation in Honiara, due to start later this year.
This project will focus on strengthening the capacity of women and youth to respond to climate change, as well as promoting the opportunities for urban agriculture as an adaptation response.
To support this emerging agenda a new RMIT network on urban resilience in the Pacific will be convened to scope out opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration on funding proposals and project work.
Story: Lesley Gordon