Preparing for Better Livelihoods, Health and Well-Being—A Key to Climate Change Adaptation

Peni Hausia Havea, Sarah L. Hemstock and Helene Jacot Des Combes


Climate-change adaptation and mitigation encompass a broad range of human policies and activities primarily intended to improve the sustainable development capacity of communities whose livelihoods, health and well-being are under threat from climate change in order to improve future resilience (Conway and Mustelin 2014; Georgeson et al. 2016; Smajgl et al. 2015; Tanaka et al. 2015; Convertino et al. 2013; Ipcc 2014; Ferrario et al. 2014). In 2013, this project investigated five coastal communities in Tongatapu, Tonga: Kanokupolu, ‘Ahau, Tukutonga, Popua and Manuka (see Fig. 5.1 on p. xx), who faced substantial negative impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels, temperature rise, rainfall pattern variations, extreme weather events (EWEs), droughts and seasonal shift (Havea et al. 2016).

Community perceptions revealed that climate change has affected livelihoods in the following ways: decreasing crop yields, reduced land productivity and horticultural production; coastal erosion, collapse of marine resources and loss of traditional fishing practices; damage to infrastructure, settlements and the built environment, including loss of property; disruption of food production and water supply; employment impacts and family income revenue disorder (especially for those who relied on their jobs and small-scale business to earn money); impact on

P.H. Havea (H) • H.J.D. Combes

PaCE-SD, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

H.J.D. Combes

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it S.L. Hemstock

The Pacific Community, 3rd Floor, Lotus Building, SPC, Nabua, Fiji e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

W. Leal Filho (ed.), Climate Change Adaptation in Pacific Countries, Climate Change Management, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-50094-2_5

Location of the studied communities and sample size. Map of Tongatapu Island

Fig. 5.1 Location of the studied communities and sample size. Map of Tongatapu Island: Kanokupolu, ‘Ahau, Tukutonga, Popua and Manuka Created by Peni Hausia Havea (2015)

training and education (loss of school days, seminars or training and damaged school property); and financial impact on government investment since the government cannot fund all adaptation projects to reduce the impact of climate change and these communities depend largely on international donors (Havea et al. 2016).

As for the perceived impacts of climate change on human health, participants indirectly linked several diseases to climate change: non-communicable disease (NCD)—asthma, influenza, pneumonia, shortness of breath, inter alia, and communicable disease (CD)—STIs (sexually transmitted infections), typhoid fever, leptospirosis, dengue fever and tinea. However, consequences for mental health and human well-being were also identified. The following perceived impacts of climate change on well-being were revealed: worry, stress and anxiety, physical impacts (e.g. coastal erosion and death) and spiritual impacts (e.g. church services cancelled). Because climate change affected Tongans aged 15-75 livelihoods, health, and well-being negatively, in Kanokupolu, ‘Ahau, Tukutonga, Popua and Manuka, an integrated mixed method approach has been used, to model these perceived impacts and the adaptation measures (Havea et al. 2016).

In this dynamic model, the study explored climate change impacts and adaptation. It was developed from two types of data: quantitative data and qualitative data, to contribute to the eliminations of gaps and a lack of published research in this area. The data was modelled using an analytical approach: ‘dynamic modelling’, to help solve impact of climate change on livelihood, health and well-being of people in these communities (QSR International 2014; Wong 2008; Welsh 2002; Wiltshier 2011; Bazeley 2007).

The model was built by carefully examining the dynamics that linked impacts and perceived impacts to adaptation grounded in the data. The result of this noding analysis was an ‘impact and adaptation model’, which enabled the emergence and identification of important lessons learnt from perceptions of community experiences of climate change and adaptation. By sharing this information and model of adaptation from Pacific experiences, it is expected that the model can be replicated and contextualized for other communities.

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