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Choiseul Bay Township Adaptation and Relocation Program, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands
The community of Choiseul Bay township, located at the northern tip of the Solomon Islands within Choiseul Province, has prepared an integrated climate change risk and adaptation strategy that contemplates the relocation of the Province’s capital
Working in collaboration with the Australian Government’s Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning (PACCSAP) programme, a team of coastal engineers, environmental scientists and planners assisted the Solomon Island’s Government and the Choiseul Provincial Government to prepare an integrated climate change risk and adaptation strategy to build a more climate resilient township in Choiseul Bay. The project involved undertaking highly technical studies to determine hazard exposure, extensive community engagement to identify vulnerability and resilience, and strategic planning to formulate a solution that is cognisant of the local culture and the unique land tenure and land-use planning system. At the centre of the climate change adaptation strategy is the relocation of the capital of Choiseul Province from the current location on Taro Island to the nearby main island of Choiseul.
Planning for the relocation of the capital from Taro Island to the mainland presented some interesting challenges. A key challenge was to understand what this relocation means culturally and socially to a community so closely linked to the sea. Another challenge was to facilitate a well-functioning and completely new provincial capital that is ‘split’ across two non-contiguous lots, and to understand the implications this has for infrastructure provision and staging of the relocation process. Given that such a relocation of the town will take many years, if not decades, there also needed to be appropriate interim and transitional uses for Taro Island.