Micronesia's Second National Communication - In Progress

Introduction

The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities. The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.

The Federated States of Micronesia have noted that its main short-term concern related to climate change is the possibility of an increase in the frequency, duration and intensity of El Niño droughts, and the need to enhance capacity to address El Niño and La Niña extreme events. Accelerated sea level rise was identified as a concern over the longer-term. Major sectors of concern include: coral reef ecosystems, coastal zones, waste management, upland forests, agriculture and water supply.
 
To view progress on Micronesia's SNC click here.

Project Details

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) includes the most geographically and culturally diverse part of the greater Micronesian region, and has a total population of about 106,000. The nation is comprised of four states – Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae – all of which are located approximately 2,900  kilometers north of eastern Australia.  The mainstays of the Micronesian economy are subsistence farming and fishing; the country also possesses high-grade deposits of phosphate (CIA, 2011). There is little tourism in the area due to lack of access and facilities.  Each state has considerable autonomy within the federation and has devised its own strategy for development.  However, FSM's geographical isolation and poorly developed infrastructure in general are major impediments to its long-term growth.    As a small islands developing nation, the FSM is one of the countries most directly threatened by long-term global warming resulting from an increased level of greenhouse gases accumulating in the earth’s atmosphere. Regarding the effects of global warming, the FSM is particularly vulnerable to accelerated sea-level rise. And, because of the country’s geographic location, future global warming holds the possibility of creating more frequent, intense, or longer-lasting El Nino droughts.

Key Vulnerabilities:

  • Agriculture/Food Security
  • Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems
  • Water Resources
  • Public Health
  • Fisheries
  • Wildlife
Adaptation Needs and Priorities
 
The FSM completed its First National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1999. Within this document, FSM noted that its main, short-term concern related to climate change as being the possibility of an increase in the frequency, duration and intensity of El Niño droughts, and the need to enhance capacity to address El Niño and La Niña events. Accelerated sea level rise was identified as a concern over the longer-term. Sectors of concern were noted as being coral reef ecosystems, coastal zones, waste management, upland forests, agriculture and water supply The  adaptation needs of the FSM as identified in its First National Communication (FSM, 1999) were:
 
  • Reforestation of mangroves, upland forests and other forests in need of restoration.
  • Development of a community based coral-reef protection program. 
  • Public awareness programs related to fire danger (related to drought events) and climate change, supported through the training of government employees and development of sustainable development educational materials.
  • Research  programs that will document  Micronesian traditional environmental knowledge, complete vulnerability and needs assessment, and design of an evaluation tool for new programs. 
  • Technology  development and transfer, including: implementation of  Micronesian traditional environmental management knowledge programs; and networking with various NGO’s to develop a program  for  identifying, transferring and modifying appropriate technologies for use in the implementation of sectoral climate change adaptation measures.
  • Interagency  strengthening, including  restructuring of the sustainable development council into four working groups: 1) management and protection of natural resources; 2) improvement of waste management and pollution control; 3) improvement of environmental awareness and education; and 4) integration of environmental consideration in economic development. 

The implementation of these and other adaptation actions in FSM are likely to be challenging due to: the remoteness of the country and its population; the absence of abundant resources; data gaps; traditional land use, decision-making and tenure systems; and the absence of sufficient planning and funding (Fletcher and Richmond, 2010).

National Level Policies and Strategic Documents

There are several documents released by the FSM government related to climate change adaptation. These include: 

  • The First Climate Change National Communication to the UNFCCC, which outlined the priority sectors that would feel the impacts of climate change and projections of how they would be affected. The most significant impacts were expected to be from sea level rise and droughts (FSM, 1999). 
  • The Nationwide Climate Change Policy (2009)  includes a commitment to addressing climate change adaptation through a framework in which: “all development activities in FSM to take into account projected climatic changes in the design and implementation as stipulated in the FSM Strategic Development Plan/Infrastructure Development Plan.” It also calls for: the use of an ecosystem-based approach where applicable; strengthening the application of traditional knowledge on conservation practices; and the development and implementation of appropriate strategies to improve food production and other relevant sectors. The Policy also calls for the integration of climate change into other policies and strategies, including those related to disaster preparedness (FSM, 2009: 2).
  • The U.S. Forest Service and the FSM collaborated on a forest management plan, Federated States of Micronesia State-Wide Assessment and Resource Strategy  2010–2015+ (2010), that is a strategic plan to harvest timber and manage forest resources in a way that preserves the soils and resource. The plan integrates climate adaptation considerations (FSM and U.S. Forest Service, 2010).

Current Adaptation Action

The Federated States of Micronesia appear to be participating in a low number of regional climate change adaptation projects relative to other Pacific countries; no nationally focused projects were identified. The focus areas of these projects are coastal zone management, agriculture, water and conservation. The funders identified as being active in Micronesia are: the Asia Development Bank (ADB); the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), and the governments of Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and the United States.
 
Proposed Adaptation Action
 
No proposed adaptation actions have been identified for Micronesia.  
 
References
 

 

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Through improved identification of national circumstances, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Government of the Federated States of Micronesia
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Location: 
Urban
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
420,000
Co-Financing Total: 
410,000

Key Results and Outputs

  • Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium- and long-term planning
  • Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
  • Measures contributing to addressing climate change
  • Research and systematic observation
  • Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
  • Education, training and public awareness

Potential Adaptation Measures:

Agriculture and Food Security

  • Switch to different cultivars
  • Improve and conserve soils

Water Resources

  • Increase water supply, e.g. by using groundwater, building reservoirs, improving or stabilizing watershed management, desalination
  • Improve or develop water management
  • Alter system operating rules, e.g. pricing policies, legislation

Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems

  • Protect, including building sea walls, and beach nourishment
  • Retreat
  • Research/monitor the coastal ecosystem

Monitoring and Evaluation

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.

The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.

Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.

Contacts

UNDP
Yamil Bonduki
Coordinator, National Communications Support Programme (NCSP)
UNDP
Emma Mario
Country Officer
Federated States of Micronesia
Cindy Ahmes
Project Affiliate