29 September 2023, Port Vila, Vanuatu – A significant expansion of the climate information dissemination network in Vanuatu is being celebrated with the newly inaugurated Community Climate Centres launched in Lakatoro, Malekula, and Saratamata, Ambae.
The Centres represent the latest additions to the extensive network of Community Climate Centres under the Vanuatu Klaemet Infomesen blong redi, adapt mo protekt (VanKIRAP) Project, strategically distributed across every province of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu's rural communities face heightened vulnerability to climate-related weather events, underscoring the critical importance of these Centres. They serve as pivotal hubs for strengthening resilience in the face of such events by furnishing accurate and timely climate information, instituting early warning systems, and equipping individuals and communities with the knowledge required to prepare and make well-informed decisions regarding the potential impacts of climate-related occurrences.
Mr. William Worwor, Principal Scientific Officer and Training and Community Liaison Officer at the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD), said: “These Centres are instrumental in facilitating the distribution of enhanced climate information generated by VMGD and the five (5) sectors, ultimately extending their reach to the farthest corners."
He added: "The planning and establishment of both climate information centres commenced as early as 2020, and VMGD and VanKIRAP extend their gratitude to Madame Jilda Shem, Assistant Secretary General, Malampa Province and Secretary General for Pemana Province, Moses Bani, who have continuously supported the Project through to the official launch."
The substantial support received from all Vanuatu Government Representatives (TAG) in each province, as well as the Presidents and councillors of the respective provinces, has played a pivotal role in the realisation of this endeavour.
Prior to the official launch event at each location, staff from the VanKIRAP and the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) conducted a six-day ‘Climate Science 101’ training, designed to give participants an understanding of how weather and climate work, how they affect their lives, and how they can prepare for extreme climate events like flooding, drought, sea level rise, and cyclones. The training is intended to give attendees the capacity not only to understand and act on climate information themselves, but for them to also equip others in their communities to do the same.
A total of 31 participants from Malampa Province and 21 participants from Penama Province received Climate Science 101 certificates at the completion of the training, and are now recognised as ‘climate champions’ within their communities.
Mr. Moses Bani, Secretary General for the Pemana Province and representative from Saratamata, Ambae said the Climate Science 101 training was very useful as it enhances “my understanding of weather and climate and helps me to create better plans for my future and community to tackle the issues of climate change.”
Mr. Lulu Lamang, a participant and Area Administrator from South Malekula, recommended that heads of Departments and planning officers should undertake the training “to have a better knowledge about the impacts of climate in order to improve their planning of their future projects.”
VanKIRAP’s Community Climate Centres are a collaboration between VMGD and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), in partnership with VMGD.
The Vanuatu Klaement Infomesen blong Redi, Adapt mo Protekt (Van-KIRAP) project is a five-year, USD 22 million project which aims to support climate resilient development in Vanuatu through the development, communication, and application of climate information services to benefit agriculture, fisheries, tourism, infrastructure, water sectors and communities. It is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), and APEC Climate Center (APCC).
For more information, please contact Mr Sunny Kamuta Seuseu, Van-KIRAP Acting Project Manager, Climate Information Services for Resilient Development Planning in Vanuatu (VanKIRAP) at [email protected].