Nauru'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.

As small island, the effects of climate and sea-level change for Nauru will be significant. This, combined with the uncertainties relating to present sensitivities and climate and sea-level change scenarios for Nauru, as well as the uncertainties in determining cumulative and integrated effects, suggests that the best adaptation strategy in Nauru would be a 'no-regrets' approach. The adaptation strategies for Nauru include, but are not limited to, the following objectives: Land rehabilitation and protection; Strengthening environmental education; Strengthening environmental institutions and legislation; Conservation of biodiversity; Promotion of the sustainable use of marine resources; Pollution and waste management; Control of population and urban growth; and Appropriate infrastructural development. 

To view progress on Nauru's SNC click here.

Project Details

It is evident that because Nauru is a single small island, the effects of climate and sea-level change will be highly inter-related and conditioned by the environmental and social changes that occur in the future. This, combined with the uncertainties relating to present sensitivities and climate and sea-level change scenarios for Nauru, as well as the uncertainties in determining cumulative and integrated effects, suggests that the best adaptation strategy in Nauru would be a 'no-regrets' approach. The adaptation strategies for Nauru include, but are not limited to, the following objectives: Land rehabilitation and protection; Strengthening environmental education; Strengthening environmental institutions and legislation; Conservation of biodiversity; Promotion of the sustainable use of marine resources; Pollution and waste management; Control of population and urban growth; and Appropriate infrastructural development. 

Nauru is an isolated, uplifted limestone island located in the South Pacific approximately 2,900 kilometres northeast from Australia.  The total land area of Nauru is only 22 km2 (2200 ha). The island is surrounded by a fringing coral reef between 120 and 300 metres wide. The reef drops away sharply on the seaward edge, at an angle of about 40o, to a depth of about 4000 metres. The land area consists of a narrow coastal plain or "Bottomside", ranging from 100 to 300 metres wide, which encircles a limestone escarpment rising some 30 metres to a central plateau, known locally as "Topside".  Historically, phosphate was the primary economic resource in Nauru, and the country boosted of having one of the highest rates of Gross Domestic Product per capita. However, these stores were thought to be nearly depleted and the end of phosphate mining left a legacy of environmental degradation and unemployment. The country is now mostly dependent on foreign aid and food imports from Australia and other countries.

Key Vulnerabilities:

  • Agriculture/Food Security
  • Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems
  • Public Health

Adaptation Needs and Policies

The main climate change vulnerabilities in Nauru are sea level rise and the effect that an increase in temperature will have  on marine resources and already stressed water and vegetative resources  (DIDI, 1999).  Due to environmental degradation, Nauru is already experiencing coastal erosion and declines in the productivity of its coral reef systems. Rising ocean temperatures, sea level rise and an increase in the number of intense storms could cause further damage to these ecosystems (DIDI, 1999). 

Nauru also has no significant surface water resources; desalination plants and groundwater are its only drinking sources. Water scarcity is already affecting human health. Greater incidence of drought could therefore reduce the  sustainability of the country’s groundwater resources, the health of its population, and the persistence of a vegetation ecosystem already stressed from major phosphate mining (DIDI, 1999).  In response to these concerns, Nauru identified education and information activities that have been or should be implemented to support is efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

National Level Policies and Strategic Documents

Nauru’s First National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (DIDI, 1999) outlines its baseline situation, highlights the environmental degradation resulting from nearly a century of phosphate mining and the  country’s commitment but limited capacity to cope with the effects of climate change. This document outlines several initiatives that Nauru has taken part in, and several actions that it would need to take as first steps to adapt to the effects of climate change (particularly sea level rise).

Current Adpatation Action

Nauru is involved in a low number of adaptation projects at the regional level as identified in Table 2; no nationally focused adaptation projects have been identified.  Through  these  projects,  adaptation action is being implemented on the ground that addresses needs related to agriculture, coastal zone management, water, forestry, tourism, gender and policy and planning.

Proposed Adaptation Action

There is no evidence of proposed adaptation actions within Nauru at this time.  

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: 
Republic of Nauru, Department of Commerce, Industry & Environment
Government of Nauru
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Location: 
Urban
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

Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems

  • Develop Integrated Coastal Zone Management
  • Develop planning/new investment requirements
  • Protect, including building sea walls, and beach nourishment
  • 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
Government of Nauru
Nodel Neneiya
Project Coordinator