Minister calls for community participation at Melanesian workshop
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The Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management, Honourable John Moffat Fugui (centre) with the workshop participants.
There is a need for greater level of emphasis on community level participation in helping countries adapt to climate change.
These views were shared by the Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management, Honourable John Moffat Fugui, at the opening of the five-day Community Workshop on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation for the Melanesian Region in Honiara, Solomon Islands from 28 May - 2 June 2012.
The Minister commended the efforts of the University of the South Pacific in providing participants with the opportunity to share information, experiences and knowledge on climate change adaptation at the community-level in Melanesia.
“When specific community case studies are presented for discussion, a greater appreciation will be reached in terms of the struggles and challenges each and every community in our region faces.”
The workshop was an initiative of the AusAID-funded Future Climate Leaders Project (FCLP) from the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) at USP.
Honourable Fugui said in the Solomon Islands they were especially “gung ho” (enthusiastic) about issues related to climate change because they were already facing its impacts.
“Just recently it was reported that salt water had intruded into the fresh water lens of swamp taro patches in Sikaiana, one of our atoll islands outside of Malaita Province,” he mentioned.
The workshop was attended by 30 community representatives from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji and aimed to educate, train and share information with Melanesian communities on understanding, mitigating (reducing) and adapting to climate change.
Honourable Fugui noted that it was especially good to see initiatives that involved people at the community-level due to the low numbers of communities acting as “catalysis of adaptation to climate change and its mitigation.”
“This should have already been a “way of life” for Solomon Islanders. So far, this is yet to be achieved.”
He emphasised that for Solomon Islands, their new Climate Change Policy, which was approved by Cabinet only three months ago, would take a new approach in ensuring that climate change adaptation and mitigation was promoted and implemented at a provincial-wide level.
The workshop was part of the climate change capacity building and community engagement activity of the Future Climate Leaders Project.
USP is involved in projects funded by the Australian Government and the European Union to build community level adaptation in climate change adaptation in the 15 Asia Caribbean and Pacific member countries.