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Pacific Climate Observers Learning from Caribbean Experience

(Suva, Fiji – August 24) Four Pacific islanders will participate in a ten month climate observers’ training programme in Barbados that starts later this month. Representatives from Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands will attend an eight-month World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) certified training course at the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) followed by a two-month work attachment in a Caribbean Meteorological Office.

The training course includes the study of climatology, agro-meteorology, operational radar, instrumental maintenance and repair, and aeronautical meteorology. Upon completion of the ten-month exchange, graduates of the course will be expected to have the skills to maintain, repair and calibrate relevant meteorological instruments, inspect and set-up weather observation sites, assist with field experiments, prepare summaries and reports of analyzed data among other skills.

Between them, the representatives from the Pacific have a wealth of experience in climate observing, forecasting and training in the Pacific. Konny Nato from the Papua New Guinea Weather Services has worked for over 24 years as both a meteorological observer and forecaster. Wilson Saega, has been a Senior Meteorological Observer since 1993 in the Solomon Islands and is in charge of preparing daily weather reports and assisting in the quality management service. Vaaua Wilson is a Scientific Officer for Weather Operation Services in Samoa. He is responsible for the management of daily operations, instrument maintenance, as well as being a training officer for new technical weather observers. Williams Bae Worworkon is the principle training and human resource officer of the Vanuatu Meteorological Office where he has been employed in various capacities for the past 18 years.

“This training provides a great opportunity for me as it is specifically meant for meteorology technicians and offers good content. After the training I am expecting to have thorough knowledge of the rules and regulations of weather observation and will be able to share this knowledge with my colleagues in Samoa,” said Vaaua Wilson.

“One of the important things about this training programme is the attachment with a Caribbean Meteorological Office. The Caribbean has geographical and climate similarities to the Pacific and I hope to be bringing valuable knowledge back home from this training,” said Vanuatu’s Williams Bae Worworkon.

The training course includes certification from the World Meteorology Organization (WMO), which is also contributing to cover costs of this training. Having certified technicians enables Pacific Island countries meet new international quality management requirements for aviation services.

“This training will help me strengthen the quality management of weather related data,” said Solomon Islands Wilson Saega.

This training exchange is supported through the “South-South Cooperation between Pacific and Caribbean SIDS on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management” project which encourages the exchange of ideas, experiences and best practices between the Small Islands Developing States in the Pacific and the Caribbean, in order to find suitable solutions and replicate best practices for addressing the various threats posed by climate change and disasters.

The training also corresponds to South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme’s (SPREP) mandate to strengthen meteorology services across the Pacific, as training for climate observers has been identified as one area requiring support in many island countries. SPREP coordinated with national meteorology offices in the Pacific to select the candidates for this course. The trainees selected will be expected to be able to conduct both national and regional trainings in the Pacific, as needed, once they have completed the course at CIMH, as part of the longer term commitment.

The South-South project is coordinated by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre, with extensive support from the regional UNDP Caribbean Risk Management Initiative (CRMI). Partners in the Caribbean include Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), INSMET (National Cuban Meteorological Institute), CARICOM Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and University of the West Indies (UWI). Key partners from the Pacific region include SPREP, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and University of the South Pacific (USP). National agencies in both regions also play an important role.

The South-South project is supported by the UNDP’s Special Unit for South-South Cooperation and by the UNDP-Japan Partnership Fund.


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