10 December, Madrid, Spain – A glance at how innovative approaches to partnerships and projects work well together to bring greater benefits to Pacific islands was the focus of a side event held at the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion titled, ‘Innovative Partnerships for Pacific Resilience’.
Six innovative partnerships were presented to the audience as key examples of how many actors can come together successfully to address the needs identified by Pacific islands themselves: the Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC), the Pacific Meteorological Desk Partnership (PMDP), the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems Pacific SIDS (CREWS) project, the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) project, the IMPACT project and the i-CLIM project.
Opening the event was Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), who touched on the importance of the PMC, which is made up of Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs).
“Climate and weather forecasting is crucial for Pacific islands, and the creation of the Pacific Met Council was really to bring together those providing this service within their communities, and allowing an exchange of knowledge, expertise, and challenges so that they might find solutions together,” said Mr Latu.
The partnership of the PMC also inspired the creation of another key partnership within the Pacific region.
“We realised it wasn’t just enough to have the PMC,” said Mr Latu.
“What we needed was to bring together more partners interested in supporting Pacific Met Services, which led to the Pacific Meteorological Desk Partnership that has provided invaluable technical and expertise support for the region.”
Representing the Government of Niue, Director of Environment Mr Haden Talagi, spoke of the Community-based Early Warning Systems (CB-EWS) project implemented earlier this year in Niue as an example of an innovative partnership.
Mr Talagi said that they faced many challenges in Niue when it came to weather and meteorological information, from addressing the capacity development needs of Niue’s NMHS, to the lack of communication and understanding at the community level of the information provided by weather services.
“We have seen development in the way our National Met Service now provides information to our communities, but we had to also consider the technicality of the language and the scientific terminology used, which have made it very difficult for people to understand,” said Mr Talagi.
Through a project known as the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems Pacific Small Islands Developing States (CREWS Pacific SIDS) – the sub-component called CB-EWS was set up across four Pacific islands, including Niue, from 2019 to 2020.
Mr Talagi said CB-EWS was addressing key concerns raised by the community at how to ensure not only access to, but also the understanding of weather, climate and disaster information from their National Met Service.
Mr Christian Slaven, Information Technology (IT) Manager at SPREP provided insight into the technical support and training of Pacific NMHSs the IT unit were undertaking in-country, to ensure that countries are able to utilise the tools, technology and infrastructure they receive through development projects and partnerships such as the PMDP.
“I acknowledge the Government of Australia for the funding assistance which has allowed SPREP to go directly to Pacific countries and provide training and capacity building to upskill their national NMHSs.” said Mr Slaven.
“The increase in availability in IT solutions in weather and meteorological services has created for Pacific island countries and territories a need for us to provide internal assistance, and this is something we are now able to do.”
Concluding the event, the importance of tailored approaches was highlighted as the key to successful innovative partnerships.
“There is no one size fits all in partnerships. Some of the examples heard today have a small number of partners, and others have a large number of partners. In the very least, you just need three or four people willing to talk with each other, share information and support each other regularly in order to address the needs of your Pacific islands and achieve the objectives of your partnership,” said Ms Celeste Powell, Director at Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Australia.
CREWS Pacific SIDS, which is co-funded by the CREWS Initiative and Environment Change Canada (ECCC) with support from the Governments of Australia, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland, and implemented by WMO. The Community component of CREWS Pacific SIDS Project is executed by SPREP.
This side event was organised by SPREP and held during week two of the Twenty-fifth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25) in Madrid, Spain, from 2 – 13 December, 2019.