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One million dollar land degradation project marked for Vanuatu

05/11/2017 Tongoa. Vanuatu

FAO is working on a project to help protect the people of Tongoa Island in Vanuatu where land and forest degradation threaten the livelihoods of the island’s inhabitants.

Funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), and working with the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry and Fisheries and other key partners, the project aims to restore lands that are severely degraded due to coastal and inland erosion due to landslides on this Vanuatu island of 3 700 inhabitants.

“Following the effects of the most recent cyclones on the island, it is absolutely critical that interventions are planned to rehabilitate the land and forest resources, which form the crux of local livelihoods, subsistence and resilience to climate change”, said Eriko Hibi, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands speaking on the eve of the first-ever Pacific Week of Agriculture being held in Port Vila Vanuatu from 16 to 20 October.

“This project will support this process and halt land degradation in the island. Rehabilitation of land and forest resources will also involve aiding the local communities to improve their vegetable production, and other vital tree crop production”, noted Madankumar Janakiraman, FAO’s GEF Programme Officer for the Pacific.

Earlier in the month, an FAO team visited the island, to assess the field sites and meet the local officials. Currently, FAO is preparing a concept note on the project for submission to the GEF Secretariat and feedback from the Government of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu is one of a number of Pacific Islands that is especially vulnerable to natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and to climate change-related emergencies, including Tropical Cyclones and severe drought and flooding.

An FAO Ministers of Agriculture meeting taking place during the Pacific Week of Agriculture will consider key approaches to increasing resilience by Pacific communities in the face of climate change.

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