by Hendrik Visser
UNCDF and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), based in Fiji, conducted a scoping mission from August 27 - September 10 in Tuvalu for the design of the LoCAL mechanism. Tuvalu is the first country in the Pacific where the LoCAL mechanism will be designed.
Tuvalu is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change, perhaps even the most vulnerable. Tuvalu’s atolls are extremely exposed to projected sea-level rise, increases in ocean temperatures and ocean acidification, and changes in rainfall patterns and subsequent droughts. Cyclones have, in the past, also resulted in evacuation of families, considerable damage to infrastructure and the destruction of livelihood assets. Considering the specific context of vulnerabilities in Tuvalu, and the Pacific at large, the LoCAL Tuvalu will address next to CC adaptation and resilience measures, also (climate related) disaster risk reduction measures.
The mission team visited one of the vulnerable outer islands of Tuvalu, Nukulaelae, to conduct a rapid climate vulnerability and risk assessment and to discuss existing capacities and adaptation priorities of the island government. The mission had extensive discussions with the island elders, LG officials, as well as community members and visited places where past resilience measures had been implemented. A key finding is that small island communities in the Pacific are indeed exceptionally vulnerable, but that there is also heartfelt strength in their social relationships and strong motivation for joint action.
The scoping mission thus identified a strong need and opportunity for LoCAL in terms of the adaptation and resilience areas to be covered, opportunities for a localized LoCAL design and for complementary linkages and collaboration with other initiatives. The LoCAL also fits very well with the strategic priority framework of the GoT. The scoping mission thus concluded that LoCAL is feasible and fits very well with the challenges and development priorities of Tuvalu.
The Minister MoHARD expressed his sincere appreciation to the mission team for the extensive consultations and deliberations during the mission and provided his full support to the LoCAL design and implementation. The MoHARD sees LoCAL as an important mechanism not only for bringing CC financing to LG level but also as a means to advance decentralisation and public sector reform as a whole. The MoHARD therefore stimulated the team to continue to flag structural issues (also beyond the LoCAL design) within processes and structures of planning, budgeting, PFM, procurement, M&E and reporting which would require the attention of the Ministry.
The LoCAL design in Tuvalu will be finalised through a further design mission in October and will be presented at the national conference for the new Sustainable Development Framework of Tuvalu in November this year. If all goes well this will be the fastest LoCAL design process till date.