16 May 2023, Port Vila, Vanuatu - For many in Vanuatu, accessing reliable information about climate and weather can be hard.
But this is changing with a new media partnership where Vanuatu’s national broadcaster’s almost 100% national coverage footprint will be used to bring everyone quality, timely and relevant climate and weather information they can use in their daily lives to plan for and respond to weather events and the changing climate.
The Climate Information Services for Resilient Development in Vanuatu project (known locally by its Bislama acronym, VanKIRAP) and Vanuatu’s national broadcaster the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC) have signed a partnership agreement to use VBTC’s radio, television and social media channels to deliver climate and weather information to the nation.
Vanuatu is among the most vulnerable countries on Earth to the increasing impacts of extreme weather events and human-induced climate change. This includes climate-related natural disasters such as cyclones and droughts, as well as more slowly occurring climate change-related impacts like sea level rise and ocean acidification. This media partnership helps address this vulnerability by creating a better informed population, and by ensuring that reliable climate and weather information reaches everyone who needs it.
The partnership addresses Vanuatu’s vulnerability to the changing climate firstly by extending the reach of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD)’s climate and weather information services to the whole of the Vanuatu archipelago. Secondly, it seeks to embed VMGD’s meteorology and climatology expertise within the national broadcaster so that science-based information is included in all of VBTC’s news reporting on climate, climate change, and extreme weather events.
Under the partnership, VBTC’s audience will see a number of exciting changes. For the first time, Vanuatu will have a dedicated climate and meteorology team that will present daily weather and climate reports on Television Blong Vanuatu (TBV), Radio Vanuatu, and on VBTC’s Facebook page (the most popular page in Vanuatu, with 120,000 followers).
On TV, new animated weather graphics will visually explain what is happening with Vanuatu’s weather and the climate. New programmes devoted to making climate and weather phenomena accessible to everyone will air on VBTC’s television and radio stations, and new radio talkback programmes will allow the audience to have their own questions about climate and weather answered by VMGD experts. VBTC will also broadcast information from the VanKIRAP Project and VMGD as public service announcements.
At the signing ceremony held at VBTC’s offices, Mr. Francis Herman, VBTC’s CEO, said the partnership with the VanKIRAP Project “will help Vanuatu’s communities to better understand the issues of climate variability, weather, and climate change”.
Mr. Herman further explained that under the terms of this agreement, accurate and reliable climate and weather information will be disseminated through the different platforms of VBTC including Radio Vanuatu, Television Blong Vanuatu and Facebook.
He also introduced two new VBTC climate reporters, Ms Tiffany Baldwin and Ms Sonia Dick, who he says they have hired to report on climate and weather issues. Thejournalists will be working with the VanKIRAP Project’s Communications team to implement the programming component of the partnership.
VMGD’s Director, Mr. Montin Romone, acknowledged VBTC and the VanKIRAP Project’s work on setting up the partnership, and thanked the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) as the executing entity for the VanKIRAP Project. He says that the partnership “will be able to disseminate climate information messages to the last mile”.
Mr. Romone explained that “climate change is a cross-cutting issue that affects all sectors” in Vanuatu.
“With this partnership, climate information services will be able to reach not just the Government and non-government stakeholders, but most importantly the people of Vanuatu”.
The Vanuatu Klaemet 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 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 Center.
For more information, please contact Mr Fata Sunny Seuseu, VanKIRAP Acting Manager, at [email protected]