Helping to understand climate change, in Vanuatu

Workshop participants

Strengthening climate change awareness in Vanuatu is at the core of a one day training for national media and communications officers in Port Vila today. This comes a week before Vanuatu has its Climate Change week from 12 – 16 October, 2020.
In recognition of the important role played by Pacific media and government communications officers, to share information and help build awareness and knowledge, a partnership has come together to help empower more news on climate change across Vanuatu.
The training is implemented by the Government of Vanuatu and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme through the Regional Pacific NDC Hub, in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC).
“In this day and age of COVID-19, we must remain steadfast in ensuring that climate change remains firm as a priority issue for Vanuatu - in the 2019 World Risk Report we were listed as the country as having the highest disaster risk worldwide,” said Mr Mike Waiwai, Director of Climate Change of Vanuatu.
“We are constantly battling the impacts of climate change, working to adapt and mitigate, for our survival. As a Pacific island nation on the frontlines of climate change, the more we know to help us prepare for what is to come, the safer we are. We see the role of our media and communicators as crucial to this.”
Vanuatu is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gasses in the world. It, contributes approximately 0.0016% to the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions yet remains amongst the most effected to the impacts of climate change. Between 1969 and 2010, Vanuatu has seen an average of two to three cyclones per season. The most recent was Tropical Cyclone Harold in 2020 which saw over 159,000 people affected, more than 17,000 homes damaged and 87,000 people were left without shelter.
The one day media training is part of a range of activities to be underway to support Vanuatu media and communicators to build their ability to share more about climate change to their audiences. Should they need guidance with their news reports or learning more in depth information on climate change, assistance and support will be made available to participants when they develop climate change news over the coming days.
“We’re pleased to be able to work with Vanuatu for this training, with the support of our partners from Pacific NDC Hub and SPC. We all appreciate the value of our Pacific media and their role in helping our Pacific communities learn and retain information on climate change, to help make informed decisions,” said Ms Nanette Woonton, the Media and Public Relations Officer of SPREP.
“SPREP has implemented a Media Outreach Programme for many years, and have learnt many lessons about what is most effective for our Pacific media within varying circumstances. We’re absolutely grateful we have been able to pull from our toolbox of activities to support Vanuatu in developing the content base and facilitation for this.”
Topics covered in the training include the range of actions across Vanuatu to address climate change, the science behind climate change, an overview of climate change at the international and regional levels and how this impacts Vanuatu, as well as challenges faced by Vanuatu media when reporting on climate change and ways forward to address these. “This government is playing an important role to address climate change in Vanuatu. This workshop demonstrates the importance of having partnership and collaboration with partners such as SPREP, Regional Pacific NDC Hub and SPC,” said Mr Waiwai.
“Thank you for the support. We look forward to a more collaboration between our partners to strengthen our work in the communication and dissemination of climate change messages and information to our sectors and communities in Vanuatu.”
The Strengthen Climate Change Awareness in Vanuatu media training was implemented by the Government of Vanuatu in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). It was funded by the Regional Pacific NDC Hub and supported by the Pacific Community (SPC).
Assistance was also provided through the Climate Information Services for Resilient Development Project in Vanuatu, a four year project funded by the Green Climate Fund managed by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department in the Ministry of climate change in collaboration with SPREP.