A WORKING paper studying relationships of urban villages and local governments has found that urban villages are vulnerable to climate change despite their location.
This is because of gaps in legislation that classify urban villages as rural areas even though they fall within urban boundaries.
The working paper was presented at the Regional Conference for Local Government and Climate Change at the University of the South Pacific yesterday.
The presentation was made by Professor Vijay Naidu and masters students Josaia Osborne and Maria Sahib.
"The fact is that urban villages like Suvavou and Tamavua have no clear demarcation on how they are governed and whether they are classified as urban or rural," he said.
Mr Osborne said iTaukei urban villages were governed according to the iTaukei Affairs Board Cap 120 used for rural villages while urban areas were governed by the Local Government Act.
"The villages are then vulnerable in the sense that there is confusion over who takes responsibility in helping them to cope with climate change," he said.
In a survey of 1171 traditional villages, 35 were found to be within immediate urban boundaries.
Mr Osborne said as a result of the gaps in legislature access to basic services from local governments was an issue for these urban villages.
He said as a result Namoli Village in Lautoka was the only urban village to have full access to amenities provided by the city council.
Other villages classified as urban include Tavualevu, Nailaga, Saunaka, Nakavu, Navoci, Namotomoto Narewa, Nawaka and Vatutu.
The villages of Nacekoro, Nukubalavu, Lami, Nasigatoka, Yavulo, Laselase and Nayawa are also classified as urban.