Assessing Fiji’s climate vulnerability: A blueprint for building resilience
AT A GLANCE
Risks Climate change exacerbating natural disasters
Area of Engagement Deepening engagements in resilience to climate change
The government of Fiji has pioneered an innovative approach to assessing and quantifying the impacts of climate change which will help the Pacific Island country chart a resilient development path.
NATURAL HAZARDS EXACERBATED BY CLIMATE CHANGE
A small island developing state with ambitious development goals, Fiji is highly susceptible to natural disasters, particularly cyclones, floods, earthquakes, tsunami and drought. In 2016, Cyclone Winston caused damages amounting nearly US$1 billion or 20 percent of Fiji’s GDP. Losses from natural disasters are expected to increase in coming decades, driven in part by socioeconomic trends such as increasing urbanization and rapid development along coastlines. About 20 percent of Fiji’s urban population live in unplanned settlements that are particularly vulnerable to natural hazards.
In addition to socioeconomic trends, the impacts of climate change are also likely to heighten Fiji’s vulnerability to natural hazards. These include increasingly destructive storms due to more severe weather patterns, increased coastal flooding due to storm surges, and higher rates of disease as a result of rising temperatures. In 2012, residents of the village of Vunidogoloa, which faced rising sea levels, became the first community in the country to relocate due to climate change.