08.07.2019 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Building climate change resilience with traditional knowledge in Utwe Biosphere Reserve, Federated States of Micronesia

Crown of thorns starfish, © Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble

Communities and stakeholders in the Utwe Biosphere Reserve (UBR), Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia are committed to improving their climate resilience and adaptive capacity through local and traditional knowledge-based and ecosystem-based adaptation. Supported by UNESCO under Phase II of the project “Towards Climate Change Resilience”, the project deals with climate change related loss and damage assessment and adaptation at the community level in partnership with Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization (KCSO). It is based on community engagement, including participatory planning, decision-making, and implementation and monitoring through the use of traditional and local knowledge.

As part of building reef resiliency, an activity to eradicate Crown of Thorns (CoTs) is being undertaken with farmers trained at the same time in using CoTs as green fertilizers. Communities and stakeholders are also engaged in coastal protection through restoration and management of mangroves.  

In addressing water security, a mapping and development of spring water sources is being undertaken to serve as alternative source for water supply. KCSO’s staffs facilitated two workshops recently and received huge support from the Mayor’s office and community members. The first workshop was mainly on identifying known springs in Utwe through a community mapping exercise. Seven sites were initially identified with two selected in the end, one to serve as main source and the other as an alternate. Plans are being developed to improve the water sources by bringing in experts to assist in the smooth implementation of the spring water project.

Training for Utwe women was carried out recently to provide vital information on WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) programme as part of Disaster Risk Management.

The project also includes livelihood diversification and income security through giant clam farming. An assessment of previous work to find the best location and appropriate strategies to deploy and grow giant clams was recently carried out and appropriate measures taken through the establishment of a special farm to ensure the clams grow well. Farmers and volunteers from the community registered to get trained specifically for the giant clam farming project.

Training and awareness workshops on traditional knowledge, traditional resource management and climate resilience for school children and senior citizens has commenced. Education activities are also continuing with the aim of targeting mostly youths and children on traditional knowledge, traditional resource management and climate resilience.




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