Pacific Resilience Program (PREP) II RMI Impact Story 1: Development of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP): Connecting the Youth in the NAP Process

The Pacific Resilience Project is supporting the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (GoRMI) to strengthen the integration of the climate and disaster resilience agenda, and to embed it into the national and subnational planning and resource allocation systems.  Through this NAP Impact Story, awareness of the project, knowledge and youth inclusivity is captured describing the important role of youth in the RMI NAP development process.

In September 2018, as part of its 2050 Climate Strategy, the GoRMI committed to the development of a NAP to sit in parallel with its commitment to reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions through its Electricity Roadmap. The NAP focuses on contributing towards enhancing the resilience of RMI to climate change under the PREP II Project.

The NAP is recognized as a ‘plan for survival’ under the expected impacts of climate change and its primary driver is a focus on self-determination supported by observation, knowledge, and science.  It serves as the acting instrument to mobilize financial resources, focusing on climate change activities.

 “The “Survival Plan” will help the RMI by providing a pathway for the people and multiple stakeholders all over the country through information; by listening to their concerns and putting their voice into the plan. The NAP is the benchmark that sets the scene for the future and how we will go about getting there for example, how to finance the implementation of the NAP, and how to make that vision come to life” says Mr. Broderick Menke, who is the National Adaptation Plan Coordinator from the RMI. 

When asked how the NAP will reduce the climate risks that Marshallese face, Mr. Menke went on to say, “If we were to mobilize financial resources, we would be able to address the needs that RMI people face and address the gaps that are in the Government that could help the people of the RMI better tie in their issues and tie in what they need. This also prioritizes climate change activities as indicated by sectors across the RMI so we would be able to prioritize and then finance these adaptation needs. We’d be able to put vision into implementation, by implementation we took what the people and key sectors of the Government prioritized and put it into reality.”

The NAP’s consultative process is a specific process building on existing strategies.  The RMI’s NAP document adopts a bottom-up approach mainly focusing on the priority of climate change adaptation activities that we want and would like to establish as priority in the RMI. “We would be able to set out aspects of what the NAP entails and tell them this is what we want so they can use that as a guide to move forward” added Mr. Menke. The NAP will be the information guide for big policymakers.

The youth of RMI are one of the important stakeholders in the development of the NAP.  They are the ones that are highly vulnerable to climate change and they will be the future decision makers when it comes to adaptation measures being taken by RMI. Their involvement in the implementation of the NAP will benefit their understanding of effects of Climate Changes with regards to RMI, and their future roles as future leaders as they will one day be implementing the measures detailed in the NAP.

Mr. Broderick Menke
National Adaptation Plan Coordinator

 Mr. Menke added “We want our youth to be better than us and always be interactive and be the face of change in our society through the adaptation process (and more) and we want to make that as transparent as possible and give them that ability to transform themselves into what we want them to become. And being that we all were youth once, it’s important to give them the same opportunities, experiences, and the type of exposure that we were given in our early years and to pass on the torch to our future generations.”

Mr. Menke recommends that not just the youth but all vulnerable groups should be able to read and understand the NAP, to ensure that they’re included and that their voices will be heard. “The NAP is a living document, so we should try and put things where they need to be and put their perspective in too. And I always encourage everybody to pick something up and put in their two cents if necessary” Mr. Menke says. 

A lesson learned throughout the NAP process is that community engagement is very important. Involving vulnerable stakeholders, everyone, and the youth specifically in the implementation of the NAP is crucial in resilience building.

The PREP II RMI project is an initiative of the GoRMI in agreement with the World Bank and the Global Climate Fund (GCF) which aims to support RMI in strengthening early warning and preparedness, resilient investments, and financial protection against disasters.

Towards the end of the interview, I asked Mr. Menke what makes his work day successful, to which he answered: “A successful work day is working through a conflict. Mitigating yourself and waiting through a conflict and making sure you don’t leave the workplace unanswered. You want to always ensure that you get to a resolution prior to leaving so that you don’t bother yourself at the end of the day and do work at home and get your personal life, business life, professional life intertwined.”