Pacific led climate change research is vital to development
WANGANUI, 21 February 2018 – Speaking on the second anniversary of Tropical Cyclone Winston, and having just faced the brunt of Cyclone Gita in New Zealand, Paul Bayly former Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in Fiji, calls on more Pacific led research to contribute in improving infrastructure and essential services for people of the South Pacific.
‘It is very important that the Climate Change conference running in Wellington will focus on the need for Pacific led research and its interaction with those administering infrastructure for the nation. Pacific led research is essential to inform better development choices. A key example of that was our experience in Fiji post Cyclone Winston.’
New Zealander, Paul Bayly, an infrastructure specialist and former merchant banker, had only been in the role of Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in Fiji, for four days, before Tropical Cyclone Winston hit the island state. TC Winston, a Category 5 cyclone is still regarded as being the most damaging cyclone to have battered the South Pacific in human and financial terms.
‘Faced with extensive devastation to roads and critical water infrastructure, we had to prioritise, and design the repair of services. The administration in Tonga will be facing similar challenges right now, in the clean up after category 4 Tropical Cyclone Gita. Climate Change is a reality and the South Pacific is living this reality daily. This impacts communities and the investment choices faced by those managing infrastructure on their behalf. Dollars need to stretch further beyond immediate repair to also future proof assets. This is where regional research plays a vital role, in helping those in government make informed choices.’