By Olivia Warrick, Climate Centre
16 October, Nadi, Fiji - The Fourth Pacific Islands Outlook Forum (PICOF-4) took place last week in Nadi, Fiji, bringing together national meteorological services and technical partners to determine the climate and tropical cyclone outlook for the upcoming season – technical training for officers whose work centres on climate was the focus.
The Climate Centre worked with Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to provide training on games (photo) to equip officers with new ways of engaging stakeholders on the value – and limitations – of using probabilistic seasonal rainfall forecasts to aid preparedness for drought.
“[Games] are tools that you can use in communities setting where not everyone can read and write,” said Ms Azarel Maiai, Capacity Development Officer with the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac).
“There will be times when you need to go out to present your climate outlook or bulletin in communities, and using games to help people understand the concepts you are trying to communicate is so much easier.”
'Paying for Predictions' game during the session facilitated by Climate Centre at PICOF-4
Through an interactive session of the SNAP! game, climate officers identified reasons that serious games can stimulate learning and dialogue: connectivity, stress reduction, something different, practising were all words that participants associated with games.
In a version of Paying for Predictions tailored for drought in the Pacific, climate officers put themselves in the shoes of disaster managers who need to use the information they produce about the next season to make decisions about preparedness.
“We learnt the importance of understanding probabilities,” said Ms Faapisa Aiono, Senior Scientific Officer with Samoa’s meteorological service.
The training was seen as timely since an alert is in force putting the likelihood of an El Niño in 2018 at approximately 70 per cent; the phenomenon can increase the probability of drought in some countries in the south-west Pacific.
The PICOF-4 Technical Meeting is being held in Nadi, Fiji from 10 to 12 October, and is coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) with its Technical Partners, made possible with funding by RESPAC Project through UNDP, COSPPac Project through SPREP & BOM and CREWS Project through WMO and Canada. At the conclusion of this meeting a Using Social & Digital Media Workshop, funded by SPREP with assistance from PACMAS, will be held for participants to assist national Meteorological Offices to better engage and communicate with domestic audiences.
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