Climate change and environmental degradation are the most serious existential challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Here in the Pacific, small island nations are already feeling the effects of anthropogenic climate change, with adverse weather events becoming more frequent and more extreme. The degradation of our marine and terrestrial environments, by pollution, deforestation, and poor land management practices, is having a detrimental effect on biodiversity and human health. Our own future depends on the health of our planet.
Fiji’s National Development Plan puts environmental protection, climate change adaptation and resilience at the heart of the country’s vision for a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future. The NDP states that ‘Our pristine natural environment will be protected, and the economy will be made more climate-resilient.’ The Fiji National University, with its national mission and strong regional connections, is committed to supporting this vision, realising the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and playing a leadership role in all aspects of sustainability.
In recognition of the climate emergency and the need for immediate, decisive action to address the effects of climate change, FNU will orient itself to become a low-carbon, environmentally sustainable organisation. Working across academic disciplines, and in partnership with national, international, and supranational bodies, FNU will harness its expertise to develop cost-effective, scalable solutions that build resilience and help communities, businesses and infrastructure across Fiji and the wider Pacific to adapt to climate change.
This five-year Sustainability Plan, which complements the FNU Strategic Plan 2021–2026, signals the University’s commitment to putting environmental sustainability, climate change adaptation and resilience at the heart of our plans and actions. We will embed environmental sustainability in our procurement policies and estates strategy, with an explicit focus on expanding renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions; we will position FNU as a leader in climate change adaptation through our education and research; we will utilize the FNU estate as a living laboratory to test, develop and refine sustainability initiatives; and we will work with partners and national, international and supranational levels to support applied research and practical interventions in support of climate change adaptation and resilience.
Adapting to climate change, looking after our environment, and living more sustainably are challenges facing the whole of humanity. Universities, as institutions of higher learning, have a responsibility to lead by example. FNU is committed to playing its part.