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Officers working in the traditional knowledge component of a project to make climate information better, relevant, and accessible for people in Vanuatu (VanKIRAP) are in a better position to serve their communities thanks to a 5-day training workshop held from 3-7 October 2022.

The officials from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) received the training from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) on traditional knowledge (TK) on weather, climate and oceans.

 “The workshop was really useful. The outcomes have been really positive, with new TK products to be released in the coming months such as the Vanuatu National Booklet for TK indicators for weather, climate and oceans,” said Mrs Moirah Matou, Project Manager, VMGD.

“Most excitingly is the integration of TK forecast with western science. VMGD is now looking forward to release its first properly analysed TK forecast for the up-coming tropical cyclone (TC) season.”

The workshop involved theoretical presentations, hands on exercises and field tests of TK and climate information tools.

“As a TK officer, this workshop was really important to me. The collection and handling of data are the most important first steps for TK and followed by focus verification and focus prediction,” said Mr Mickey Jella, Traditional Knowledge Officer, VMGD.

“For this to be properly done in a standardised procedure, a TK officer should mastermind every individual step up until forecasting stage.”

The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Lynda Chambers, BOM and Ms Siosinamele Lui, Traditional Knowledge Officer, SPREP. The training sessions were categorised under the following areas.

 1. Hands on training and forecast skills assessments for TK officers

2. Assessment of the TK Data in the TK database and on on-site Analysis

3. Field test of the Climate Watch App (for TK Monitoring)

4. Finalize documentation for Standard Operational Procedure and Data Access Protocols

5. Develop and draft community TK communication and visibility products

“Personally, one of the most technical and interesting part of the workshop is the verification of forecasts and merging of local knowledge with science base to monthly and seasonal focus,” Mr Jella added.

“I trust that what I have learned from the workshop and any upcoming trainings will help and enable me to properly analyse TK forecast for existing and new TK products including prediction for tropical cyclone.”

Traditional Knowledge Coordinator, VMGD, Mr Albert Willy, identified the training session on the Vanuatu Climate Watch App as one of the most useful sessions for himself as a TK Officer.

“The app will be used for citizen science application to involve the community in six community climate centres we have established under VanKIRAP; and valuable in the monitoring and reporting of traditional knowledge data throughout the year,” he said.

Funding for the workshop was provided through a partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF), SPREP and VMGD through the Vanuatu Climate Information Services for resilient development (Van CISRDP) project or VanKIRAP.

VanKIRAP, as the project is known by its Bislama acronym, is making climate information better, more relevant, and more accessible for people in Vanuatu. The Project supports Vanuatu’s resilient development by increasing the ability of decision-makers, communities and individuals to plan for and respond to the impacts of climate variability and change, using climate information services (CIS).

For more information, please contact Mr Sunny Kamuta Seuseu, Acting Manager, Vanuatu CISRDP on email [email protected] or telephone +678 5551113.