19 September 2023, Port Vila – The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is conducting a two-day workshop with members of the Vanuatu media to strengthen their understanding of climate change and other environment-related issues in the Pacific in order to further amplify a Resilient Pacific Voice.
SPREP’s Communications and Outreach team have been in Vanuatu for a week working on building the capacity of climate officers within the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazards Division in order to effectively communicate the climate information they collect to the general public, including the media.
Ms Nanette Woonton, SPREP’s Communications and Outreach Adviser, said the aim of the workshop is to strengthen and encourage media coverage of the work being done by the Government of Vanuatu in relation to climate change.
“We recognise the importance of the role that the media plays, that they are the eyes and ears of the public. So, this is the perfect opportunity to strengthen that relationship between our technical experts and the media to ensure that they have a good working relationship in place for the dissemination of climate and weather information to the people of Vanuatu,” she said.
President of the Vanuatu Media Association, Ms Lillyrose Welwel spoke about some of the challenges faced by the media in Vanuatu when it comes to reporting on climate change and related issues.
“While we have seasoned reporters in the Vanuatu media who have been reporting on climate change issues for many years, we also have young journalists who are just starting out and have difficulty understanding the terminology,” she said.
She identified the lack of training opportunities as a challenge, as sometimes they are given to the same people from the same institutions, which then results in little to no opportunity given to other journalists to also build their capacity on climate change reporting.
“We also have a number of social media influencers and those who develop podcasts in Vanuatu, but because climate change is mostly communicated and reported on mainstream media such as newspapers, radios and television, they are not utilised and thus do not identify climate change as an issue they should talk about on their platform,” she added.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to build our capacity as journalists to report on climate change because it is important for us to keep our people informed, and to have access to the critical information so we can convey it in a language that is understood by all.”
Twelve participants attended the first day of the training, where they debunked common myths on climate change and learned more about what climate change is, the causes of climate change, climate change mitigation and adaptation and the examples of those activities that the Vanuatu government has put in place.
The two-day workshop is organised through SPREP’s Vanuatu Klaemet Infomesen blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt (Van-KIRAP) project, a five-year, USD 2022-million project funded by the Green Climate Fund, and facilitated by SPREP’s Communications and Outreach unit.
For more information, please contact Ms Nanette Woonton, Communications and Outreach Adviser, at [email protected].
The Vanuatu Klaement Infomesen blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt (Van-KIRAP) project is a five-year, USD 22 million project which aims to support climate resilient development in Vanuatu through the development, communication, and application of climate information services to benefit agriculture, fisheries, tourism, infrastructure, waste water sectors and communities. It is funded by the Green Climate Fund and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in partnership with the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and APEC Climate Centre.