Solomon Island Meteorological Service (SIMS) put pen to paper to confirm a long term partnership with the Solomon Island Red Cross Society (SIRCS). This is a first in the Pacific and a direct outcome of the Finland-Pacific (FINPAC) project where both SIMS and SIRCS worked together to provide early warning support to the Lord Howe Settlement.

The purpose of this MOU is to strengthen the relationship between SIMS and SIRCS and clearly define roles and responsibilities between the two parties in this agreement as they engage in activities to strengthen the resilience to weather and climate extremes.

The SIMS and SIRCS collaborated with the support of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to developed disaster plans for the Lord Howe settlement resulting in the establishment of a community-based early warning funded by the FINPAC project. The early warning system included a flood early warning system and a light warning system powered by solar energy called the Lord Howe Early Warning Concept.

“One of the potential long term outcome of the FINPAC was for the collaboration between the National Meteorological Services and the National Red Cross Society to build a stronger partnership to support the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate variability and change,” said Mr Salesa Nihmei, the FINPAC Project Manager at SPREP.

SIMS has a very rich pool technical experts that can contribute to positively influence the knowledge of volunteers to enable them to be the hands and mouth of the National Meteorological Services at the community level delivering accurate information.

Mr Lloyd Tahani, Acting Director signed the MoU on behalf of SIMS. He commented that “SIMS is very happy to further the collaboration under the FINPAC project with SIRCS and able to use the model to reach out and built resilience in communities throughout Solomon Islands”.

SIMS will be providing support for training volunteers and as well as assisting the SIRCS in their community outreach programmes. Similarly, the SIRCS will collaborate with SIMS to ensure the technical information relating to warnings are accurate and further help to collect feedback from communities of the effectiveness of warnings issued by SIMS.

The signing of the agreement took place at the launching of the SIRCS Strategic Plan 2017-2020 at the St. Barnabas Leaf House in Honiara.

The FINPAC project is funded by the Government of Finland and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) with the support of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).

Solomon Islands