Communication key to climate survival

Improving the communications and social media skills of senior personnel in meteorological and hydrological services was the aim of a workshop held yesterday at the Sheraton Hotel.

“The role of communications for meteorological services across the world is crucial to the well-being and survival of many Pacific island communities and people," said the coordinator for the workshop, Nanette Woonton.

“Communicating information clearly and effectively to a wide audience helps enable effective preparedness for weather and climate impacts to come".

Ms. Woonton is a representative from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.). 

The aim of the workshop was to provide participants with effective communication skills prior to the fifth Pacific Meteorological Council.

She stated that the workshop is facilitated by S.P.R.E.P. with training support from the Pacific Environment Journalists Network, Pacific Media Network and Radio New Zealand Pacific.

“We have seen some positive outcomes from the series of workshops we have held, like witnessing a lot of news coverage on meteorological issues," Ms. Woonton said. 

“One of the biggest challenges that we do find in general is that meteorology services is science and science is not always interesting in terms of its terminology used and is not easily understood.

“But it’s coming to a stage where as we experience the different changes in our weather and climate, these are things that we as a community need to know so a lot of things that we see and know are more of bridging of this information we also see that met,” she said.

She also stated that another successful communications initiative has been for meteorological services to translate public information into national languages so it can be easily communicated:

“We also have seen establishment between meteorological services and media in times of disaster".

The workshop was a partnership between the World Meteorological Organisation, the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems Project, Environment and Climate Change of the Government of Canada, the Government of SPREP, United Nations Development Programme, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and the Climate and Ocean Support Program for the Pacific.

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