Tuvalu is the first country to implement LoCAL in the Pacific, and LoCAL has entered a strategic partnership with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), especially in implementation of the capacity development and technical support to national and local governemnts (LGs) as part of the LoCAL programme. In Tuvalu the CD support will be coordinated with a number of core initiatives such as the NAPA II and the Public Sector Reform Programme.
Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world with a population of around 11,000 and a land area of 25.9 km2; its exclusive economic zone covers 900,000 km2. Like other Pacific Island countries, Tuvalu faces a unique set of development challenges due to its small size; narrow production and export bases; insularity; remoteness; fragmented, limited resources and capacity constraints; and proneness to natural disasters and vulnerability to climate change.
These characteristics heighten its susceptibility to economic and climate-related shocks. Climate change has been identified by the Government of Tuvalu and the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders as the greatest threat facing this and other small island countries. Tuvalu faces key climate vulnerabilities including scarcity of freshwater, coastal erosion, soil salinization, reduced fish habitats due to ocean acidification, coral bleaching, rising sea water levels and increasing extreme climate events (typhoons, wave surges)
Given the specific context of climate vulnerabilities and risks in Tuvalu and the Pacific region in general, LoCAL-Tuvalu will address in addition to climate change adaptation and resilience measures, climate-related disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness measures (e.g. cyclones, prolonged drought).
Objectives, results and activities
The aim of LoCAL-Tuvalu is to improve the capacities of local governments to address climate change by increasing access to climate change adaptation financing through PBCRGs.
The expected outputs are as follows:
- Output 1: Effective PBCRG system (finance mechanism) is established in Tuvalu and operational for additional funding.
- Output 2: Inclusive, effective and accountable CC mainstreamed planning and budgeting processes at the Kaupule level .
- Output 3: Climate change–resilient investments (services and infrastructure) are managed efficiently and effectively, and transparently implemented by the participating kaupules through the PBCRG system.
- Output 4: M&E system, and lessons learned to inform national policies, informed through experiences with the launch of LoCAL and the integration of climate change in all steps of the local public financial management process and improvements of public financial management.
- Output 5: Completed roll-out plans and capacity-building support for new kaupules by end of programme.
- Tuvalu is the first country to implement LoCAL in the Pacific. A memorandum of understanding was signed between LoCAL and Tuvalu in December 2015. Subsequently, the LoCAL mechanism was adopted rapidly in Tuvalu and various strategic missions were held to prepare for implementation, which commenced in 2016.
- Through a participatory and inclusive process, a climate vulnerability and risk scan was undertaken for the first batch of climate adaptation and risk reduction investment activities to inform the requirements of the LoCAL planning process. The initial investment activities were successfully implemented by the three pilot falekaupules (local governments) under the 1st tranche of the PBCRG for FY 2016/17. Investment activity descriptions for the 2nd tranche for FY 2017/18 have been completed, following the normal LoCAL planning and design process.
- The second annual performance assessment (APA) of the kaupules/falekaupules under the LoCAL programme was successfully completed in May 2017. The APA reviewed compliance on the part of the pilot kaupules with the minimum conditions for access to grants for the FY 2017/18. The APA report was reviewed by the LoCAL Secretariat and subsequently approved by the Kaupule Development Coordinating Committee, and signed by the secretary and consented to by the minister. The APA found LoCAL has good traction in the initial three LoCAL programme pilot local government authorities.
- Upon approval of the APA report and its recommendations, UNCDF released the 2nd tranche of the PBCRG to Tuvalu for allocation as per the determined formula so the kaupules can implement their FY 2017/18 activities. Implementation of these activities have commenced in the first half of 2018.
- The third APA, conducted in 2018, verified that all three participating kaupules – Nukulaelae, Nukufetau and Namumea – have met the minimum conditions, and are thus qualified to receive the PBCRG grant for 2019. The assessment also noted that the performance of LoCAL kaupules had improved significantly, particularly in planning and budgeting, financial management and climate resilience investments, with an average 83 per cent improvement on performance measures noted from 2016 to 2018.
Adaptation measures and investments:
The viability of subsistence-based livelihoods in Tuvalu is likely to be undermined significantly due to climate change.
- Water: The key vulnerabilities and risks related to water are the increased variability and decreased predictability of rainfall and safe water availability. To this end, six water catchment and harvesting systems were completed/planned in the three kaupules.
- Disaster prevention and preparedness: Tuvalu is dangerously exposed to extreme climate events such as storms and cyclones. Two cyclone shelters are under construction in two kaupules which will provide protection for more than 800 inhabitants.
- To undertake climate change adaptation activities effectively and efficiently, an incentive- based performance system could be considered to promote service delivery within other institutions. Meaningful participation of vulnerable and marginalized communities through bottom-up planning needs to be ensured. Such participation helps integrate climate change risk management activities into community development and planning processes. At programme outset, a number of stakeholders at the village level were not fully aware of their role and responsibilities.
- Capacity at both the kaupule and government levels has been identified as a major constraint to successful provision of services to communities, and as such has been accorded high priority. Awareness raising and capacity enhancement are very important at programme start and throughout the life of a project. As part of the overall capacity development strategy planned for Phase II, institutional and organizational reform at the kaupule as well as at the central government level will be needed. Capacity development support in the country will be coordinated with a number of core initiatives such as the National Adaptation Programme of Action II and the Public Sector Reform Program. It is also envisaged that collaboration with the newly implemented Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project would be supported and reinforced.
- Follow-up on implementation of the third cycle of PBCRGs (2019/2020) and of the recommendations arising from the third annual performance assessment was completed in June 2018.
- The LoCAL programme was initially piloted in three highly vulnerable falekaupules/kaupules representing the various geographical areas of Tuvalu (north, central and south). Phase II is expected to commence in 2020–2021 with planning and preparation of interventions for up-scaling, with expected coverage of all local governments, or at least an additional two or three authorities. In the latter case, full scale-up for the national system is envisaged for 2021 onwards (Phase III).