As a Small Island Developing State and a Least Developed Country, the Solomon Islands is extremely vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change and disasters.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) recently held a two-day training in the Solomon Islands as part of the European Union-funded Intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) programme to ensure that participants understand and can facilitate evidence-based advocacy to build resilience in their communities, organizations, and institutions, as well as develop and integrate climate change and disaster response plans or strategies.
A total of 31 community leaders and change agents (19 males, and 12 females) from the Solomon Islands participated in a two-day climate change and awareness training at the Barana Community Center on the outskirts of Honiara.
The area that spans the Mataniko River and the coastal community to the Barana Community is prone to flooding. Communities surrounding the riverbanks were among those that were severely affected by what was considered the nation’s worst and hardest-hit disaster – the April flooding of 2014. Families and communities lost lives and properties during the event. Years after the devasting April floods, a lot of families are still struggling to recover.
The EU PACRES Programme trained and raised awareness about climate change and natural hazards (and disasters) among community leaders and change agents in order to build resilient communities against the effects of climate change and future disasters. The event was aimed at raising greater awareness among community leaders and change agents of the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods. Key topics covered included the science behind climate change; roles of leaders and change agents in raising the adaptive capacities of the local communities that they represent, as well as aligning local actions to national resilience priorities including current national policy frameworks.
The training was facilitated by Alex Rilifia a Senior Weather Forecaster at Solomon Islands Meteorology, Brian Tom a Principal Programme Officer at National Disaster Management Office, Melvina Voua for People with Disability Solomon Islands Climate Change Officer and Noella Dorevella PACRES Research and Community Officer, USP.
The PACRES programme aims to improve regional and national adaptation and mitigation responses to climate change challenges faced by Pacific ACP countries.
The USP component of the European Union-funded Intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) programme is implemented in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP, lead agency), The Pacific Community (SPC) and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).