Red Cross and SPREP partner on climate change
The Red Cross and SPREP will work together to improve the way weather information is delivered to communities living with the impacts of climate change.
The Red Cross and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme will work together to improve the way weather information is delivered to communities living with the impacts of climate change.
The partnership is just one of 137 climate change or disaster resilience projects registered during the Small Islands Developing States conference in Apia.
A Red Cross climate advisor in Vanuatu, Rebecca McNaught, says the effects of climate change are becoming more evident across the region.
She told Mary Baines the new agreement means more engagement with fishers, farmers and villages who depend on climate information for their livelihoods.
REBECCA MCNAUGHT: The changes in extremes that we're already seeing and likely to see into the future, so intensification of rainfall events leading to more intense flooding. Solomons Islands flooding is a good example of that. And then on the other side, more gradual changes. So we hear about sea level rise, gradual temperature rise, one or two degrees might not sound like much but it actually has big implications for people say living on mountains in the Solomon Islands who might be experiencing malaria for the first time. The health implications are quite large and of a concern to Red Cross, dengue outbreaks. Disease has a relationship with climate, so when we see extreme flooding events or if we see drought for example we'll see spikes in dengue or leptospirosis, typhoid, trying to bring those messages down to a really practical level in terms of what people can do.
MARY BAINES: I understand the Red Cross is working with a number of partners in the region?
RM: We're involved in all sorts of partnerships, particularly I guess at the regional level, and also at the national level and most importantly at the community level. Really trying to take action to reduce the types of risks that climate change is bringing in the Pacific region. One particular example is a regional partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, SPREP, and that takes that down to the national level, a partnership with meteorological offices to try and improve early warnings in the Pacific region and working with communities to create action plans on the disaster risks that they face, setting up community disaster committees, so that they can respond. They're often the first responders when disasters happens, ensuring that they're ready, that they understand early warnings, and looking at improving their understanding of not only climate change but weather and the types of climate variability that we see in the Pacific region like El Nino and La Nina events. So we've been creating all sorts of materials like animations and cartoons to try and bring that information down to the community level.
MB: So how long has that been going for, you're seeing it as a success so far?
RM: Yeah, I guess on this particular project, started this year. But we've had a long history of working with communities in the Pacific region on disaster preparedness. We've had this climate animations project going for a couple of years with probably around 12 partners in the Pacific region, really trying to bring together the different strengths of the different agencies and the different networks.
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