CLIMATE change adaptation projects in the Pacific must involve members of the local community for the projects to have any impact or to sustainably work, says adaptation planning officer for the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Peniamina Leavai.
Speaking at the final review in Nadi of the five-year pilot PACC project designed to assist Pacific Island countries improve water supply issues, protect their coastlines and improve food security, Mr Leavai said community participation from the beginning of any project was the biggest lesson learnt since the pilot project began in 2009.
"Communities that are at the forefront of being impacted by climate change need to be involved in the design of any project from day one," he said.
"We can't just work with the government and develop a full-blown project and walk into a community and expect them to implement it.
"The community will have local knowledge and vulnerabilities that we are not aware of and this is why they need to be included right from the start.
"This will make any adaptation project effective, sustainable and efficient.
"It also makes it easier for the community to accept a project that they were involved in from the beginning."