Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific

EU Ambassador Commissions River Bank Protection Project with Minister Reddy

27/09/2021 - 02:27
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Today as we commemorate World Rivers Day, the European Union Ambassador for the Pacific and to Fiji, His Excellency, Sujiro Seam joined Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy in Navutu Village, Sigatoka to commission the Nature Based Solution River Bank Protection Project using the Vetiver Grass Technology.

“Supporting communities like Navutu Village in adapting to the impacts of climate change is part of the EU’s key focus in Fiji and the Pacific”, Ambassador Seam said while delivering his keynote address at Navutu adding that “green transition is one of the key priorities of the new EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific while the EU Green Deal is one of the top priorities of the Union.”

“Valuing rivers, which are important transporters of water and nutrients needed to sustain the planet’s ecosystems, including human life, is increasingly being recognised as critical to global efforts to adapt to climate change. Nature-based solutions can reduce the risk of soil erosion, flooding and provide recreational benefits and opportunities for tourism. This is what the Building Community Resilience to Climate Change through Civil Society Action is about, building capacities and resilience of communities to climate change and providing access to clean and sustainable environment to affected communities”, Ambassador Seam pointed out.

Navutu village was identified as one of the high priority areas for conservation as arable land is being lost rapidly and to conserve the river bank the project is engaging community owned efforts through layering vetiver planting along 1000 meters of its bank. Community members will be engaged in the maintenance of the grass in the later stage of the project. Local women are active players throughout the entire project.

Ambassador Seam mentioned that through this project, the EU is proud to be supporting several policy objectives of Fiji’s National Climate Change Policy and provide women with training and assistance to make environmentally friendly artefacts that would also contribute to their livelihoods, while introducing them to the circular economy and encouraging local ownership of the project.

The ‘Building Community Resilience to Climate Change through Civil Society Action’ is implemented by a consortium of local civil society organisations including Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation, Dialogue Fiji and Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding which collaborate with the Ministry Agriculture, Waterways and Environment.

The three-year €680,000 (nearly FJD 1.7 M) project is funded by the European Union.

(ENDS)

For further information, contact: Mohammed Nazeem KASIM, European Union, Press & Information Officer in Suva, Fiji on Email: Mohammed-Nazeem.KASIM@eeas.europa.eu or delegation-fiji@eeas.europa.eu

 

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