Community-based action in Fiji’s Gau Island: A model for the Pacific?

Elise Remling, Joeli Veitayaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – Drawing on qualitative fieldwork on a remote outer island in Fiji, this paper aims to address a shortcoming in the literature on climate adaptation in the Pacific. Internationally community-based adaptation (CBA) is recognised as a promising approach to help vulnerable populations adjust to climate change. However, with pilot projects in their infancy documented experience for Pacific Islands remains scarce. This limits the ability of the region – faced with persisting development challenges and predicted significant climate impacts – to learn from and build on previous experiences and develop robust responses to climate change. Design/methodology/approach – By using a community-based initiative in response to environmental challenges and unsustainable development as a proxy, the paper interrogates the potential usefulness of the CBA framework for the Pacific and identifies potential strengths and weaknesses. Sketching out the process and its outcomes, it shows how the initiative has resulted in a diversity of strategies, ranging from pollution control measures, to improved governance of resources and community participation in decision making, to livelihood and income diversification. Findings – Findings indicate that CBA could have a lot of potential for building more resilient communities in the face of climate change and other pressures associated with modernising Pacific societies. However, to be effective, interventions should pay attention to people’s development aspirations; immediate economic, social and environmental benefits; dynamics of village governance, social rules and protocols; and traditional forms of knowledge that can inform sustainable solutions. Originality/value – The conclusions provide a reflection on the CBA framework in general and make concrete suggestions for practitioners on how the framework could be usefully implemented in the Pacific context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-398
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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