TCAP supporting inclusive, climate-smart development planning for Tuvaluans

March 15, 2021

Community of Nui island farewells the Prime Minister following a visit post-Cyclone Pam. (Photo: UNDP)

- To strengthen the integration of climate change and disaster risk concerns in Island Strategic Plans, the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project (TCAP) has been working with local councils (Kaupules) and communities, including women and youth, to develop budgeted Island Strategic Plans that are inclusive, climate-smart, and responsive to the needs of different groups.

In Tuvalu, Island Strategic Plans (‘Palani Atiake’) are four-year plans or blueprints which map the key development priorities and outline proposed developments on an island. It was about a decade or so ago (in 2010s) that the first generation of Island Strategic Plans were developed

In contrast to Tuvalu’s national strategies for sustainable development, they are truly locally-led enterprises: developed at the local-level, by Kaupules, with the input of local communities, focused on the aspirations of local people for improving their welfare and livelihoods.  While technical expertise is offered from the national government and partners, communities determine their own requirements and needs.

One of the key objectives of the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project is to strengthen awareness and knowledge for resilient coastal management. In support of this, the project has initiated support to help islands to finalise their Island Strategic Plans, and to deliver training to ensure Kaupules and communities are empowered with the knowledge they need to effectively manage climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into the future.  The project has also been working to establish a mechanism to access finance for priority developments.

TCAP’s assistance to Island Strategic Planning builds upon work by the UNDP-supported ‘NAPA II’ project and UNCDF-supported Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility project (LoCAL), which have been working with Kaupules to review existing plans and annual budgets. Photo: UNDP-TCAP consultant Feue Tipu facilitating a consultation with the Nanumea Kaupule. (Photo: UNDP)

Island Strategic Plan consultation, Nanumea island. (Photo: UNDP)

TCAP has emphasised the value of adopting a ‘whole-of-island’ approach to integrating climate adaptation, disaster risk and environmental considerations into local plans, policies, and projects to strengthen resilience. (Photo: UNDP)

Training on how to mainstream climate change and disaster risk into planning has been conducted on Funafuti and Nanumea.  More than one third of participants have been women, a positive outcome given traditional governance at local level is predominantly patriarchal. 

“Of the current round of Island Strategic Plans (the third generation) for 2020-2023, all of them identified climate change as a priority area requiring the attention of Kaupules and Falekaupules. This is an indication that island governments and their communities are very conscious of the disastrous impacts of climate change,” said Feue Tipu.

“The involvement of TCAP, in supporting the enhancement of adaptation issues in the Island Strategic Plans, was timely:  there’s really a great need for additional resources to bolster the preparation and implementation of the plans (especially with respect to their monitoring, evaluation and reporting), as well as to build the capacity of Kaupule staff and the Department of Local Government.”

Seven of Tuvalu’s eight islands have now completed plans, with Nukufetau planned for March 2021, and with the support of the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project, the Island Strategic Plans are being finalised in local and English-language, with copies to be distributed to key stakeholders and donors. The Kaupules are expected to formally launch their plans in the coming months.

The initiation of Island Strategic Plans more than a decade ago, and the investment in building local capacities to develop them, marked a shift towards a more bottom-up model for development planning in the country. Photo: Consultation with communities on TCAP’s overall progress, along with an introduction on how to apply for grants, facilitated by TCAP Consultant, Feue Tupu, November 2019. (Photo: UNDP)

To streamline and systematize development planning at Kaupule level, the Ministry of Local Government and Agriculture has recently introduced the ‘Kaupule Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework’. The introduction and training on the new policy framework is scheduled for the second half of next month, March 2021.

An initial ‘Train the Trainer’ workshop is planned for Kaupule officials and various Ministry representatives in Funafuti in March, with localised follow-up throughout the year.  Further training in accessing grants -- to support Kaupules’ work in mainstreaming climate change and disaster risk concerns -- will also take place this year.


About the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project: With US$36 million financing from the Green Climate Fund and US$2.9 million co-financing from the Government of Tuvalu, the 7-year Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project will contribute to strengthening the resilience of one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change and sea-level rise. Implemented by the UN Development Programme in partnership with the Government, the project will improve coastal protection in key locations on the islands of Funafuti, Nanumea and Nanumaga. While new measures will act as a buffer during storms, the project also strives to build the capacity of national and island governments and local communities in adapting to climate change in the longer term. Learn more at 

Contact information:

Puanita Taomia Ewekia, TCAP Communications Officer; tel: +(688) 20883; email: