The government of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has carried out climate vulnerability assessments on 14 atoll islands in the states of Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap.A total of eight survey teams covered the areas of marine environments, soils, pests and diseases, forests, trees and vegetation, agriculture and land use, water, response management, and socio-economic factors.
This was done to fulfill United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requirements for the preparation of national communications from non-Annex I Parties (developing countries).
Mr Jaleso Mateboto, Community Forestry Technician with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community's Land Resources Division, led the forest & vegetation survey team.
'Non-Annex I Parties should provide a description of their national and regional development priorities, objectives and circumstances, on the basis of which they will address climate change and its adverse impacts.''This description may include information on features of their geography, climate and economy which may affect their ability to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects, as well as information regarding specific needs and concerns arising from the adverse effects of climate change and/or the impact of the implementation of response measures,' Mateboto said.
He noted that information on national circumstances provides the opportunity for detailing the national or regional development priorities, objectives and situations that serve as the basis for addressing issues relating to climate change.
'Information provided on national conditions is critical for understanding a country's vulnerability, its capacity and its options for adapting to the adverse effects of climate change, as well as its options for addressing its greenhouse gas emissions within the broader context of sustainable development.
'Parties could also include information on the linkages between the activities and policies relating to climate change and those of other conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on Combating Desertification.'
The FSM government, through its Climate Change Project, requested assistance (technical and financial) from international and regional organisations to assist in this vulnerability assessment.
In responding to the need and the request of the FSM government on vegetation survey assistance, the Forests and Trees (FAT) programme of SPC's Land Resources Division assisted in the design of the survey/monitoring plots, survey coordination and carrying out the actual field survey on the 14 atolls.
The teams lived on the ship MV Caroline for 22 days in March and April to complete the task.
FAT, in collaboration with SPC staff based in Pohnpei and Noumea, assisted FSM in collecting information in the following areas:
. Geographical characteristics, including climate, forests, land use and other environmental characteristics.
. Population - growth rates, distribution, density and other vital statistics.
. Economy, including energy, transport, industry, mining, tourism, agriculture, fisheries, waste, health and the services sector.
. Education, including scientific and technical research institutions.
In using the agreed design for monitoring, assessment, reporting for sustainable forest management, strips of 100 m x 10 m were established and assessed. The survey work also served as a capacity building exercise for FSM as Forest Officers from all four states worked with the SPC FAT officer for 22 days.