18 August 2023 - Port Vila, Vanuatu. OSCAR – the ‘tailOred System of Climate services for AgRiculture’ developed by the APEC Climate Centre (APCC) as part of the Vanuatu Climate Information Services for Resilient Development Planning Project (VanKIRAP) was handed over to the Vanuatu Government at an official ceremony held in Port Vila last week.
Accepting OSCAR on behalf of the Government were the Minister for Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology and Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and National Disaster Management, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, and David Gibson, First Political Advisor to the Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries & Biosecurity, Hon. Nato Natuman. The high-level delegation accepted the new information system and new host servers and tablet personal computers from APCC’s OSCAR Project Lead Mr. Jong Ahn Chun, on behalf of APCC's Executive Director, Mr. Do-Shick Shin.
OSCAR is a new agro-meteorological information system that APCC has been developing with the assistance of the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazards Department (VMGD), the Vanuatu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and farmers from across Vanuatu.
The OSCAR system uses a combination of computer climate models and locally-recorded climate data to generate agro-meteorological bulletins (‘agromet’ bulletins for short), and assessments of how climate conditions are likely to affect crop yields throughout the country.
OSCAR gives DARD field officers and individual farmers access to a tailored decision support and climate early warning system. It allows DARD and farmers alike to make informed decisions about crop planting and harvesting, based on what is happening in the climate at the local level.
Accepting OSCAR on the Vanuatu Government's behalf, Minister for Climate Change, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, noted that it “represents a very significant partnership between the Republic of Korea and the APEC Climate Centre” and the Vanuatu Government.”
”It shows that Vanuatu is serious about bringing services down to the community level, and increasing capacity for early warning and adaptation to climate change”, the Minister said. He also noted that OSCAR contributes to the achievement of Vanuatu's National Sustainable Development Goals to give communities improved climate resilience through access to early warning systems for agriculture.
Mr David Gibson, speaking on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture, said that OSCAR is “custom-built to help farmers make climate smart decisions”, will have “direct implications for agricultural productivity and food security in Vanuatu”, and will be especially valuable for the rural population, who “depend on agriculture for survival”.
Mr. Jong Ahn Chun from APCC said in his speech that with the knowledge that OSCAR provides, Vanuatu’s farmers “will be able to make informed choices, policymakers will create effective climate adaptation strategies, and communities will be better equipped to comprehend the changing climate”.
OSCAR has separate sections that give information on seasonal forceasts, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, drought conditions, best times to plant crops, and predicted yields of key crops. All of this information is tailored to the weather and climate of each of Vanuatu’s six provinces.
OSCAR is available as a web application and will soon be available via the VMGD website. Additionally, OSCAR-generated agromet bulletins will be disseminated via email, social media, national television and radio, in print, and through VanKIRAP’s network of community climate centres. All OSCAR print and online product will also be available in Bislama, along with downloadable mobile app versions.
Accessing OSCAR online
The best way to use OSCAR is to open a web browser on a mobile phone and enter the following URL:
Users can switch between the OSCAR 'lite' version, designed for low internet bandwidth areas, and the 'full' mode with high resolution graphics. Press the 'lite' button in the top left corner to switch between the two modes.
The OSCAR system an activity of VanKIRAP, the Bislama name for the Vanuatu Climate Information Services for Resilient Development Project, which is funded by the Green Climate Fund and jointly implemented by VMGD and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
For more information, please contact Mr. Sunny Kamuta Seuseu, VanKIRAP Acting Manager, at [email protected]