FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
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Strengthening Fiji’s capacity to prepare for droughts


The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) led a provincial Drought Early Action Formulation Workshop in Sigatoka in late October 2019. The workshop gathered national institutions, development partners as well as farmers and community representatives to formulate and endorse Early Actions for the crop, livestock, aquaculture and Forestry Sectors as well as other agriculture-related livelihoods. The workshop was supported by the Pro-Resilient Fiji project which is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by FAO.

Evidence shows that the frequency and intensity of climate-driven natural disasters is increasing globally. Natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often compared to 40 years ago, with great costs to local economies, livelihoods and lives. Expanding needs, competing priorities and scarce resources globally mean that new tools are needed to ensure smart, effective investments to help attenuate the impact of disasters before they occur.

Acting early before a disaster has happened or reached its peak is critical: it can save lives and protect livelihoods from the immediate shocks as well as protecting longer term development gains by increasing the resilience of local communities over time. The Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) System translates warnings into anticipatory actions to reduce the impact of specific disaster events. It focuses on consolidating available forecasting information and putting plans in place to make sure key food security stakeholders act when a warning is at hand.

Agriculture Officer Elenoa Vosayaco emphasizes that “Agriculture is a critical field that is mostly affected during natural disasters and conducting early action plans can focus farmers’ mindset to better prepare themselves so as to avoid loss because for farmers their livelihoods depend on what is on the ground i.e crops and livestock.”

Nasaucoko community representative Ruci Navabale, says, “Over the years, the village has always been proned to drought and having this Early Action workshop will enable us to better prepare ourselves to what is to come so it does not affect our livelihoods and if it does we have enough to recover from.”  

In this context, the NDMO has recently established a Drought Early Warning System that defined indicators to trigger various level of warning and formulated the National Drought Management plan that mainstreams Early Action. This Provincial workshop was a key step in identifying adapted measures to be undertaken as Early Actions to support farmers in Ra as soon as a warning is issued.

In the past months, such a workshop was carried out in Ra and Bua provinces.

Strengthening decentralized Government Institutions, Producers Organisations and local communities’ preparedness capacity for climate-related disasters constitute an essential step in the overall process of strengthening Fiji’s capacity to prepare for droughts and implement pre-disaster Early Actions. 

Project Background

The Pro-Resilient Fiji (PRF) project impact aims at reducing structurally and sustainably food and nutrition insecurity derived from the negative impact of climate change induced drought disasters in Fiji. Its main outcome is to improve climate risk identification and management capacities at national, provincial and village levels; and Climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive agriculture techniques adopted by vulnerable small-holder farmers.

The PRF project is funded by the European Union Delegation in Fiji and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the provinces of Ra, Nadroga and Bua in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and national institutions (National Disaster Management Office, Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, etc.). The project will continue until end of 2020.