By Joshua Lafoai of School of Journalism, National University of Samoa
17 August, 2017, Honiara, Solomon Islands, PMC-4 – The Pacific Meteorology Council is aiming at including everyone in the push for better community engagement in the region with particular emphasis on people with disabilities.
Reaching the communities has been one of the top priorities of the PMC to ensure they are communicating the information and technologies to the people who need it the most.
PMC Vice Chair and Fiji’s Met Services Director Ravind Kumar says its not about who is already in PMC but to engage those who are not included in the awareness, education and preparedness efforts.
This stand was also echoed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme’s (SPREP) Climate Change Advisor, Espen Ronneberg.
“We’ve always been talking about reaching the last mile, and that means getting to the people who haven’t got the message we are relaying. We’re talking about people with disabilities as well. They need to be included in our conversations and awareness efforts too,” said Ronneberg,
“We do this to prepare those who are vulnerable to disasters as well and that includes people with disabilities,” he added.
Ronneberg says to engage them would mean having them join in on the discussions and conversations.
“I think the best way to include them would be through the People with Disabilities’ Forum, and it will be great if we can get them to take interest in meteorology as well,” he added.
Fiji Met Director Kumar said PMC still has a lot of work to do in terms of the entire region.
“For the next PMC it would be great to include the other islands that are not yet members in these discussions including Tokelau and Nauru,” he said.
“In terms of reaching the last mile it is a goal to ensure we cover our entire region,” he added.
This though depends on the support the PMC gets. Ronneberg said it was not always about the money.
“It’s the expertise, the knowledge and the technicians. Those are the support that we don’t always have and in turn its what our partners bring in that help us reach that last mile we always talk about,” he added.
The next PMC is scheduled to-be-held in Samoa in 2019. – #PMC4 #PacificMet
The Fourth Pacific Meteorological Council is being held in Honiara, Solomon Islands from the 14 – 17 August co-hosted by the government of Solomon Islands, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This will followed by the Second Pacific Meteorological Ministers Meeting (PMMM) on the 18 of August.
The PMC and PMMM is supported by the Government of Solomon Islands, SPREP, WMO, Government of Australia through the Climate and Oceans Support Programme (COSPPac) and Pacific Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Programme (PACCSAP), Government of Finland, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United Nations Development Programme through the Resilience in the Pacific (SIDS) project.
The PMC consists of members of the Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological Services supported by its technical partners, regional organisations, non-government organisations and private sectors.
This article was developed by a Pacific Media Team of Reporters currently providing coverage on the Fourth Pacific Meteorological Council in Solomon Islands. This activity coordinated by SPREP is supported by a partnership between the Government of Solomon Islands, SPREP, Australia funded project (Climate and Oceans Support Program (COSPPac) and UNDP Disaster for Pacific SIDS (RESPAC) project.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) or the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)both of which provided funding for generating media articles.