GCF funding to strengthen climate and oceans observations for Vanuatu

Source(s): Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme

The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department has received funding support from the Green Climate Fund to strengthen and expand its climate and oceans observations networks.

 The funding is part of the Vanuatu Climate Information Services for Resilient Development in Vanuatu project; locally known as the Van-KIRAP (Vanuatu Klaemet Blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt), and was accessed through the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), as the Accredited Entity.

The total Green Climate Fund (GCF) investment in Vanuatu is USD 18,106,905 for three years, up to January 2022.  A network of eight new automated weather stations, eight new automated rainfall gauges; automated river monitoring gauge, and a C-band weather radar are the key equipment that will be supported by the project.

The procurement and installation of these instruments has already started and will become operational before 2021/2022 tropical cyclone season.

To monitor and collect data from the vast Vanuatu ocean areas inside its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); which is approximately 1,300 kilometers between the most northern and southern islands, a network of six ocean monitoring buoys will be deployed to collect information on oceanic temperature, waves, wave direction, currents and parameters that will indicate the impacts of climate change and pollution in Vanuatu waters.

These parameters include dissolved oxygen, acidity and alkalinity (pH), chlorophyll and many more. This network of ocean buoys will complement two existing tide gauges in Port Vila international port and in Luganville, Santo.

“The Vanuatu Fisheries Department is very pleased with the approval to procure recommended ocean buoys and its associated monitoring sensors,” said Mrs June Brian Molitaviti, Manager of Research and Aquaculture Division of the Vanuatu Fisheries Department.

“This will mean we will be able to implement our sector priorities more efficiently and thoroughly. Furthermore, this would greatly enhance our data collection and monitoring to supplement other ecological survey and FAD monitoring priorities as per our 2021 Operational Plan”.

The new observations systems are essential components of the Van-KIRAP project. The aim of the project is to build the technical capacity in Vanuatu to harness and manage climate data.  This includes a range of activities to improve Climate Information Services (CIS) such as; development and deliverance of practical tools and resources; support for enhanced coordination and dissemination of tailored information; enhancement of information and technology infrastructure; and support for the application of relevant CIS through real-time development processes.

I am very excited to see that through the Van-KIRAP project, we are now implementing some of the key outputs of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) Strategic Plan, which is to increase and improve coverage of weather observation networks, ocean observations, and tailoring climate information,” said Ms Moirah Matou, VMGD Project Manager for the Van-KIRAP Project.

“The oceans wave buoys are going to be the first of its kind in Vanuatu that will be able to provide real-time ocean climate data that will benefit the weather forecasting services - VMGD, as well as the Fisheries sector.

In 2015, Vanuatu was designated by the United Nations University as having the highest natural disaster risk of all countries it measured. In 2015 and in 2020, Vanuatu experienced Category 5 severe tropical cyclones; Cyclone Pam and Cyclone Harold that caused extensive damage to all the islands.

This year, a La Niǹa episode has influenced the climate and has brought more than average rainfall over the country causing flash flooding, landslides and damaged newly build roads and crops.

The activities undertaken by Van-KIRAP is designed to support ongoing resilient development in Vanuatu through capacity development for effective application of climate information. The project is also focussed on addressing information gaps and priority needs of targeted beneficiaries at national, provincial and local community levels across the five priority sectors: agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, water and fisheries.

Mr. Montin Romone, Director of VMGD says “The Van-KIRAP project has been instrumental in equipping vulnerable populations through building capacity to become a resilient community, adapting well to natural disaster and climate change impact throughout Vanuatu.”

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