This paper has described several case studies involving the implementation of climate change adaptation interventions in several sectors (marine resources, coastal protection, food security, water security and health) in outer islands. Similarities have emerged and these are discussed below.
Adding New Technology and New Knowledge to Traditional Practices
Approaches that combine new and practical technology and traditional practices may be more appropriate for the outer island situation. For example in the Cook Islands, a relatively simple method to measure water quality combined with the full time stationing of a marine biologist at the remote outer island, is providing immediate benefit to the pearl farmers, in contrast to the more sophisticated real time technology.
In Tuvalu, combining an accepted agricultural practice, agroforestry, with new technology, the supply of “climate-ready” crops, is beginning to provide positive results for farmers by helping them move from subsistence to market production.
In the Marshall Islands the coastal areas adjacent to the new causeway were stabilised with coastal plants. Instead of using plastic bags to germinate the seedlings, coconut leaves were woven into small baskets and these served the same purpose. Another traditional technique was to use copra sacks filled with coral rock and sand and held in place along the beach berm with ironwood stakes to protect the newly planted seedlings from inundation by the sea.
The limited supply of good quality water is a serious challenge facing those living in outer islands. While there are sophisticated technologies that can augment supply such as reverse osmosis plants, enhancing traditional practices such as rainwater harvesting may be more suitable for the outer island situation where maintenance and the procurement of spare parts is often difficult. However, it is very important to understand the specific circumstances of each island, e.g. in Fais Island in FSM, the houses have very low roofs, so it was necessary to procure low rectangular tanks that fitted below the roof overhang instead of the typical cylindrical tanks.
In many atoll countries water quality is another challenge and the usual way to purify water is to boil the water. As was seen in Kiribati, research and practice has shown that a simple “new” technology, SODIS, is appropriate to the outer island situation and can reduce diseases such as diarrhoea and save money through reduced fuel costs.