Ouvéa is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO and is one of the largest Pacific atolls (54 km long, 132 km²). It has a population of 3,400. The island is particularly vulnerable to climate hazards and global warming: cyclones Cook and Donna in 2017, drought and water shortages, and rising water levels. In 2017, the municipality devoted a portion of its budget to the fight against these occurrences. Shoreline protection operations help limit erosion that threatens homes and roads in Takedji in the south of the island, and in the Saint-Joseph tribal district in the north.
In 2017, in keeping with the Paris Climate Agreement, the State wanted to support the environmental projects of French communities of the Pacific aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. The green Public Sector Loan (“Green” PSP), a subsidized green financial instrument from AFD, was therefore created. This measure offers a new means of collaboration between AFD and the New Caledonian municipalities, for which it is the historical and sometimes only lender.
Thanks to assistance from AFD, the municipality of Ouvéa benefits from the best financing conditions. With the signing of the loan agreement in August 2017, Ouvéa even became the first municipality in the Pacific to benefit from this loan, at the time equivalent to an interest-free loan. A visit to observe the coastline protection work offered the opportunity to assess all the issues at stake in preserving the environment of Ouvéa, which lives up to its reputation as “the island closest to paradise”.
This project funding helps residents continue to use the coastal road and remain in their homes (although there is a new trend to settle in areas further from the coastline).
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