Solomon Islands Water Sector Adaptation Project

“Gud Wata Fo Strongem Komuniti Lo Evritaem”

A Q&A with Tema Wickham, SIWSAP Provincial Officer in Gizo, Western Province

An archipelago of over 990 small islands, covering around 27,000 square kilometres, the Solomon Islands boasts rich cultural diversity and an array of terrain, species and natural resources.

In many ways, it is an island paradise. Yet, like other small island developing states around the world, the nation faces a range of specific development challenges, now complicated by the emerging adverse impacts of climate change: rising sea levels, more variable and unpredictable rainfall, and more intense extreme weather events.

The nation’s future depends on its capacity to adapt to and mitigate the impacts. Local capacity is also key.

Tema Wickham is a Provincial Officer with UNDP Solomon Islands, working on a project to improve the resilience of fresh water resources. Tema shares the key risks and impacts Solomon Islands communities face, what makes them particularly vulnerable, and what the Government is doing to address the issues.

Climate change is a national certainty as it is a global one. Coastal communities are experiencing shortening shorelines courtesy of rising sea levels. The same rising sea levels cause water wells to be salinized, thus undrinkable for people and livestock. A severe drought, historically longer lasting, dries up natural water sources and kills food gardens across the country. These events and more, are unfortunately permanent and cannot be reversed and how communities respond to these events is important.