Submitted by leannem on Mon, 11/16/2020 - 13:29
November 16, 2020 by leannem
Climate Change Resilience

10 November 2020, Apia, Samoa – Representatives of the Government of Samoa, private sector, non-governmental organisations and the community were introduced to Community Based Early Warning Systems (CbEWS), a component of the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Early Warning System Pacific Small Islands Developing States (CREWS Pacific SIDS) project during a two-day inception workshop held in Tuana’imato this week. 

The CREWS Pacific SIDS project is a regional project which focuses on strengthening the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre located within the Fiji Meteorological Services in Nadi, Fiji, and the Pacific island countries and territories’ weather offices of Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau, and Tuvalu. It also extends support to the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. It is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). 

The project is an important milestone for Early Warning Systems, traditional knowledge, and sustainable development, and seeks to enhance the capacity of Pacific island countries Hydro-Met services to predict extreme and high impact hydro-meteorological events and associated risks to alert exposed populations. 

The workshop aimed to facilitate discussions on the inclusion of traditional knowledge and responses into early warning systems and risk reduction measures. It also comes at no better time as Samoa heads into the beginning of the cyclone season, and what has already been declared to be a very strong La Niña event moving into the next four to eight months. 

Director of SPREP’s Climate Change Resilience programme, Ms Tagaloa Cooper, spoke during the official opening of the workshop and said, “Early warning and preparedness underpin community resilience and sustainable development. They provide Governments with the instruments and skillset to enhance early preparation and risk reduction for local communities and nationals. In addition, Early Warning Systems and traditional knowledge are important drivers for development and innovation.” 

“This workshop will address the need to engage communities and ensure the warning and messages are easily understood, and continuously used,” she added.

Ms Tessa Tafua-So’o, Associate Project Officer of WMO said, “WMO and SPREP recognises the critical role of National Disaster Management Offices as important stakeholders and actors in Pacific resilience and disaster preparedness. Your commitment to improve early warning mechanisms and preparedness in local communities is commendable.”

She reiterated the full commitment of WMO through SPREP to assist the Disaster Management Office and Samoa Met Office in its efforts to realise its important mission and mandate to the people of Samoa. 

Participants from the Samoa Meteorological Services, Disaster Management Office, Fire and Emergency Services Authority and other organisations attended the two-day planning and inception workshop, which discussed existing institutional mechanisms, policies, and plans on disaster risk, reduction and early warning systems among other objectives. 

For more information on the CREWS Pacific SIDS project, please contact Ms Tessa Tafua-So’o, Associate Support Officer, CREWS Project, at [email protected] or Ms Siosinamele Lui, Traditional Knowledge Officer at SPREP, at [email protected]