Hands-on Workshop Switches Vanuatu ON to Climate ChangeNewsroom
A dramatic leap in participants’ understanding of climate change was achieved during a recent six-day workshop held by Nguna-Pele Marine and Land Protected Area Network & SPC-GIZ, held in Vanuatu in August.
The workshop, organized by ANZDEC, was sponsored by ADB as part of the Coral Triangle Initiative, with the goal to facilitate peer-to-peer expert exchange on the most effective and relevant climate adaptation and natural resource management opportunities for communities throughout Vanuatu. It was the first time more than half the participants had attended a natural resource management training event or climate change adaptation training.
The six days were filled with in-depth and hands-on sessions raising awareness on a number of important issues and solutions including: understanding climate change and its causes, managing and sustaining natural resources, how-to sessions on developing management plans and writing winning funding proposals, as well as talks on drying food, conservation and composting toilets. Participants also had the chance to snorkel in the Worasiviu Conservation Area and deploy newly planted coral mariculture beds, as well as view old growth beds that survived Cyclone Pam.
A highlight of the workshop was Vanuatu heavyweight boxing champion Kalie Jacobus leading participants in a “fight for climate change,” an action-filled event in which boxing accompanied speeches and chants highlighting adaptation and natural resource management.
At the end of the workshop, the participants demonstrated just how far they’d come in their understanding of climate change adaptation and planning. Most participants identified only a few key climate and natural resource management threats at the beginning of the week, but by the end of the workshop could specify a range of climate impacts ranging from temperature increase, rainfall variability and ocean acidification, to cyclones, extreme events and sea level rise.
Participants were able to identify a number of major natural resource management challenges post training including: poor management planning, lack of sustainable financing, weak networking with other communities and government, land and resource disputes and a host of others.
They also improved their understanding of adaptation solutions; in their pre-training assessment participants identified just one adaptation solution – sea wall construction – but following the workshop answered the same question with dozens of unique adaptation strategies including developing natural resource management plans, undertaking community training, registering and strengthening community conservation areas, rehabilitating reefs, and many more.
One of the key outputs participants gained from the workshop was an understanding that the climate-related impacts in their specific areas are very different from those impacts in other areas of Vanuatu. This highlighted that training on climate change should not be prescriptive but rather context-specific, with the need for diverse interventions to suit specific local contexts.