‘Climate Science’, ‘Climate Change Information’, ‘Vulnerability and Risk’, ‘Sectoral Assessment’, ‘Cocoa farming’, ‘Stakeholder engagement’, ‘Capacity Development’ and the ‘Solomon Islands Meteorological Service’ were just some of the key terms highlighted, discussed, linked and explained during the recent DFAT-funded workshop in Honiara held in the week leading up to the PMC-4.

The workshop brought together about 50 engaged participants, including several Directors from various National Meteorological Services in the Pacific, government officials and sectors from the Solomon Islands with a strong presence from the agriculture sector, as well as participants from regional organisations and the Australian Government.

Led by the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service, in partnership with CSIRO and SPREP, the one day workshop focussed on a seven step process for developing climate change information for the purpose of undertaking a preliminary climate vulnerability and risk assessment of cocoa farming in the Guadalcanal Plain. Four key analysis areas -  air temperature, mean annual rainfall and dry season, prevalence of fungal disease (phytophthora palmivora due to high rainfall) and impact of floods were looked at to show the optimal ‘envelope’ of mean climate conditions for growing cocoa on the Guadalcanal plain, and how it could change in the future. The workshop was further supported by a field trip to the cocoa plantation on the following day to meet with farmers and hear their ideas and concerns about the impacts of the changing climate on their crops and livelihood.

The workshop titled, ‘Turning Climate Science into Services – Demonstrating Sectoral Application of Climate Change Science (data and information) to Inform Climate Vulnerability and Risk Assessment’ was a key activity in the wider pilot-scale case study, which through continued effective stakeholder engagement will produce a wide range of practical resources and communication products to support the understanding and application of developing and using science-based climate change information at a sectoral level in the Pacific.

These outputs will include a detailed case study report on climate change impacts on cocoa in the Solomon Islands by the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service, as well as the release by CSIRO and SPREP of the final version of the new guidance materials - Developing climate change information for the Pacific: Guidance material to raise awareness and facilitate sectoral decision-making using science-based climate change services, in the coming months. This regional resource will be used to assist decision-makers in Pacific Island countries to determine what type of climate change information is needed, and how to find, access and apply it at a sectoral level.

This case study and workshop form a key part of the Pacific Climate Change Science and Services Outreach Project, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and managed by CSIRO, in collaboration with SPREP and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Keep an eye out for the release of the new guidelines, the case study report and the engaging and useful communication products in the coming months (www.pacificclimatechangescience.org)!

For more information – please contact SPREP at pacmetdesk@sprep.org

Solomon Islands