More than 20, 000 community members in Torba and Sanma Provinces in Vanuatu will directly benefit from the establishment of community climate centers (CCC) under the Vanuatu Klaemet Blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt (Van-KIRAP) project.
Community leaders in Torba and Sanma Provinces in Vanuatu have given the final clearance for Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD) and Van-KIRAP to establish the climate information hubs inside their communities, realising the benefits to their security, livelihood, and wellbeing.
The CCCs will act as hubs strategically located in area councils for receiving Climate Information Services (CIS) from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD); and further dissemination of CIS to ‘last mile’ communities; as well as building adaptive capacity of communities and households in the uptake of, use and translation of CIS into actions to build resilience.
The Van-KIRAP project sought guidance and approval from community leaders, provincial government officials, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local stakeholders. These consultations were to solicit community input in the design, commissioning, and operationalisation of the community centers. “In Vanuatu, not all communities are the same, the governance, institutional capacity and resources vary, hence the delivery and roll out of these climate centers are tailored to suit community needs and priorities” said Moirah Matou, Van-KIRAP Project Manager. “More importantly, we want the process to be as inclusive as much as possible; and that respective communities make decisions regarding their community centers” Matou added.
The Van-KIRAP project team consisting of Mr. David Gibson, Community Coordinator and Mr. Neil Maluso, Climatologist, VMGD conducted the community consultations and assessments from the 31 March, 2021 to 16 April, 2021. The communities in which the team visited in SANMA Province included (i). Nakere in South Santo, (ii). Vanuatu Agriculture Research and Technical Centre (VARTC) in Luganville, Santo island, (iii). the Provincial Disaster Management Office (NDMO) office in Luganville, Santo island. In the TORBA province, the community consultations were held in (iv). Loh in Torres, (v). and the NDMO office in Sola, Banks.
“In all the consultations conducted, it was obvious that most people in the communities are aware of the short term (weather) forecasts and warnings issued from VMGD, including what actions to take during such events. However, medium and long term forecasts contained in the CIS are not well understood” said David Gibson, Van-KIRAP Community Coordinator.
“This confirms that a continuous training program and awareness to communities and provincial government officials be established and conducted during and beyond the life of the project (Van KIRAP) to enable communities to use CIS and have the skills and capacity to action information contained in the CIS, so they become resilient to climate variability and change” Gibson added.
“The establishment of the Community Climate Centre will allow NGO’s and our communities to receive trusted, reliable, firsthand information from VMGD” said Mr. Gorden Edward, the World Vision Vanuatu representative.
“Our communities in Loh and the surrounding islands are excited to have the community climate centre in our area council as it will provide climate and warning services equivalent to the services provided to people residing in Port Vila (National Level)” said Mr. Thomas Putunleta, the Area Administrator for Loh Area Council.
Mr. Reynolds Surmat, Secretary General (SG) for TORBA Province further stressed that “before the project (Van KIRAP) comes to an end, information (CIS) must be spread to all users and communities, allowing communities to use this information (CIS) to better their livelihood”.