Patrina Dumaru

My thesis assessed the effectiveness of a community based adaptation (CBA) project in enhancing the capacity of three indigenous Fijian villages to adapt to climate change.

So much has been said about the threats of climate change to the Pacific Islands and there has been a significant growth in aid funding directed towards adaptation projects in the region. When commencing my PhD I was curious to know how exactly these projects enhanced community adaptability to climate change, particularly for indigenous villages in my home country of Fiji.

My thesis assessed the effectiveness of a community based adaptation (CBA) project in enhancing the capacity of three indigenous Fijian villages to adapt to climate change. The research helped to understand how adaptation projects can be better designed and implemented to respond to local needs and values while strengthening the adaptive capacity of local social-cultural systems. The study demonstrated that what differentiates CBA from other adaptation approaches is that it purposefully seeks to produce the kind of outcomes that enable local actors to continuously mobilize collective action, inclusive decision- making and iterative learning towards immediate and long-term climate change adaptation goals.

The highlights were when I was awarded a grant from the UNDP Asia-Pacific Human Development Academic Fellowship, got a paper published in a good journal and when I submitted my thesis. Of course, looking back, there are things I would have done differently but I feel like I did my best with the support, resources and time available to me and I’m satisfied with the effort I put in.

I am now the Team Leader of the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EUGCCA) Project with the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) at the University of the South Pacific (USP). The project aims to strengthen the capacity of 15 Pacific countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change, through formal and informal training, practical community focused adaptation projects, and applied research. I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate job and was so excited when I got the job offer!