As a small island nation Niue is highly vulnerable to climate change. Any rise in the sea level would threaten Niue’s underground freshwater supplies. Other climatic changes could also impact food security. Niue lies on the boundary of the southern tropical cyclone belt. An increase in the incidence and severity of tropical cyclones could cause damage to existing infrastructure and the environment. To adapt to these threats the country has proposed that vulnerable infrastructure be relocated to areas less at risk. Other measures proposed include the establishment of database and information systems to collate data and record monitoring, and to conduct further research about the impacts of climate change on national flora and fauna.
Niue is situated approximately 2,400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand, and has a total surface area of 259 square kilometres. The main population is gathered in the capital, Alofi. Niue has been an assoicated state of New Zealand since 1974, and all of its peoples are New Zealand citizens. The atoll of Niue consists of three terraces, the rim of the lower terrace averages 28 metres above sea level and the upper terrace averages 69 metres above sea level. It is a rugged coastline. Niue has a hot wet season from November to March and a cool dry season from April to November. Due to its location on the edge of the tropical cyclone belt, Niue currently is hit by a cyclone about every four years and experiences a severe cyclone about once in every ten years. The tropical cyclone period occurs during the hot wet season. These events have historically caused significant physical and economic damage to the country (NMS, 2000). The average temperature does not vary greatly throughout the year due to the influence of the sea. The mean daily minimum temperature is 19oC and the maximum mean daily temperature is 30oC. Niue is largely covered by tropical forests, although deforestation is common to allow for the expansion of agriculture. The main industry in the country is subsistence farming and fishing, with some cash crops and processed foods (CIA, 2011). However, much of its economy is dependent on development assistance provided by New Zealand. Tourism could be expanded in the country, particularly with improved air services (NZAID, n.d.).