Linking livelihoods, climate and effective management

03 August 2012 | Article

Effective management of mangrove and associated ecosystems lies at the heart of IUCN's MESCAL project. IUCN Oceania and the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) facilitated a training workshop for MESCAL coordinators from 23 - 26 July in Suva, Fiji to highlight the links between project impacts, livelihoods and climate.  

The workshop introduced participants to use the Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods (CRiSTAL) toolkit.

CRiSTAL is a screening tool designed to help project designers and managers integrate risk reduction and climate change adaptation into community-level projects. It enables project planners and managers to understand the links between livelihoods and climate; assess a project's impact on livelihood resources important for climate adaptation; and devise adjustments to improve a project's impact on key livelihood resources.

Since its launch in 2007, CRiSTAL has been applied in over 20 countries and the tool itself has been updated and revised over the years. The workshop is the first CRiSTAL training to be offered for the Oceania region and also a chance for the MESCAL coordinators to work with the pilot version of the latest CRiSTAL.

The field activities are beginning to be rolled out in the MESCAL countries so it is at the right juncture of the project for CRiSTAL to be of practical use to the country managers,” said Dr. Milika Sobey, Water and Wetlands Programme Coordinator at IUCN Oceania.

A critical component of CRiSTAL is interaction with communities. Workshop participants visited the village of Nadoi, one of the communities in the Rewa delta and part of MESCAL Fiji’s demonstration site, learning about Nadoi’s climate hazards and current adaptation solutions.

Discussions with community members identified hazards including salt water intrusion, rainfall variation and extreme temperature fluctuation. A fairly flat area, adjacent to the Rewa River Nadoi also floods frequently, crippling food production and the community's livelihood. .

"The people of Nadoi have found ways to adapt to these hazards but it has made things financially difficult for the villagers," added Sobey.

"MESCAL coordinators have agreed to use the new version of CRiSTAL once it is launched as part of their socio-economic surveys for their respective demonstration sites as it would aid in the improvement of their plans for climate change adaptation and overall management of mangrove ecosystems," says ViliameWaqalevu, MESCAL Technical Officer at IUCN Oceania.

Following feedback from the three trial sites (Fiji, Peru and Uganda) the new version of the CRiSTAL toolkit will be made available around November 2012.

The MESCAL project is supported by the German government under the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

For more information contact Dr. Milika Sobey, milika.sobey@iucn.org