Skip to main content

The Study for Assessment of Ecosystem, Coastal Erosion and Protection/Rehabilitation of Damaged Area in Tuvalu Final Report [Volume II: Main Report]

Tuvalu has been brought to international attention as a country in danger of submerging due to the impact of global warming, because most of its landmass is low-lying atoll only 1 to 3 meters above sea level. On the other hand, a study report says that the main cause of the existing coastal erosion and tidal surge impact is the increase of environmental load by population growth (sand supply decrease due to deterioration of water quality, and constructing barriers for accretion of sand) and sprawl of residential area (inhabitation in flood prone areas, and extracting earth and sand from coastal areas) rather than precipitation change or sea level rise due to global warming. Therefore, a comprehensive study on the impact of human activities is needed for the island’s long-term sustainability.
Previous studies have shown that coastal protection measures ignoring sand production/movement/deposition mechanisms of biologic origin, such as coral, run a high possibility of destroying the island’s sustaining mechanisms in the long-term2. Therefore, the implementation of measures based on these mechanisms is required to protect the atoll island. Additionally, it is necessary to increase the island’s permanence by mitigating negative effects on these mechanisms considering future sea level rises.
Long-term measures to increase the island’s permanence must be considered. Nonetheless, the coast is already being eroded, with reports of residents’ lives being affected. For these areas, urgent and short-term measures are required. Surveys on the impact of coastal erosion, and the planning of countermeasures to counter this, are particularly pressing in Fongafale Island, where the capital Funafuti is located, and 45% of Tuvalu’s total population (9,652 persons: 2006, the secretariat of the pacific community) resides.
The then prime minister Fukuda promised the Japanese Government will support Tuvalu at a summit between Japan and Tuvalu in December, 2007. The then Minister of the Environmentn Kamoshita visited Tuvalu in January, 2008. The JICA project formation investigation team visited Tuvalu and conferred about a supportive content concretely with Tuvalu. Based on the result of the project formation investigation, first of all, the Tuvalu government requested international science and technology cooperation on global problems to clarify the mechanisms involved in the formation and sustainability of the island from a long-term perspective, which is