Epi Island, Vanuatu

Participatory 3 D Modelling in Epi Island for enhancing resilience of coastal infrastructure and community assets, Vanuatu

In Vanuatu, the ‘Vanuatu Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC)’ project focused on coastal zone management, and specifically the coastal roads on the island of Epi, which were being damaged by flooding and coastal erosion. The project has been working with local communities to develop appropriate solutions that would contribute to more resilient coasts.

Thirty-nine kilometres of road were identified as particularly vulnerable to weather and climate impacts, and as the target for the project. A range of improvements have been being carried out, including concrete surfacing of steep parts of the road, improved drainage, and relocating 5 km of the coastal road further inland. Epi’s coastal airstrip has also being moved inland by 30 metres, to protect it from sea level rise and extreme weather conditions.

Early in the project, the project team identified participatory three-dimensional modelling (P3DM) as a valuable process to facilitate community-based participation and decision making. The P3DM exercise was a great success, helping the community to make more informed decisions on activities involving their resources and ecosystems.

The resulting road improvement strategies were based on the results of the community mapping exercise, a vulnerability and adaptation assessment and an environmental impact assessment. The communities themselves received training to carry out some of the roadworks, using locally available materials and with guidance and training provided through the PACC project.

A guideline has been produced for communities, which explains soft engineering options for coastal protection. This capacity building is seen as key to building resilience at the community level. The project is also developed a guideline to be used at the national level as part of the environmental impact assessment process for future coastal infrastructure development.

Recommended readings:

______. 2014. Using Participatory Three-Dimensional Modelling (P3DM) to Facilitate Community Decision Making: A Case Study from the Vanuatu Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Project. Apia, Samoa : SPREP, 2014. 24 pages. (PACC Technical Report No.10)

Ian Iercet. 2014. Epi Island. Presentation at 5th Annual Review Meeting (July 2014) presentation. Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Project. Apia, Samoa: SPREP

______. 2013. Vanuatu PACC Finalizes Project Scope on Epi using P3D model. Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC). Vol. 1 No. 1 April 2013

_____. 2013. 3D community based geo-spatial topography mapping system empowers local community. Vanuatu Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC). 2 July 2013