Enhancing climate and weather communications for resilient island communities

25 July, 2016, Rarotonga, Cook Islands - A Pacific Women in Meteorology series to be released by November this year, is just one of the outcomes of a three day communications training for Pacific Meteorologists completed in the Cook Islands this month.

"Enhancing climate and weather communications for resilient island communities" was the theme of the training coordinated through the Finnish-Pacific Project (FINPAC), a partnership between the Government of Finland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

FINPAC aims at reducing the vulnerability of the livelihoods of Pacific islanders to the impacts of climate change through strengthening the Meteorological Services for which clear and effective communications plays a key role.

PM1Pacific island met staff learning from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Climate Center in Korea

"This is part of a series of training activities throughout the region, working with the different met services to help provide them with tips to communicate their information so that the audiences can understand and prepare accordingly," said Ms. Nanette Woonton, of the Communications and Outreach Unit of SPREP.

"For this in particular we worked on helping them develop readable text as well as how visual design of products, such as their climate outlooks which they currently develop and share with their audiences, can play a role in making their information interesting and understandable."

Training encompassed writing text for their specific audiences so it can be read and understood while ensuring the science remains correct; how to use basic design principles to maintain the interest and understanding of those that read them; and developing the text for a Pacific Women in Meteorology series based on the national Met Services across the region.

PM2Enhancing climate and weather communications for resilient island communities training

According to the evaluation results the training was well received.

"I found the basic principles of communication and creating simple, clear, audience focused information products from scientific information very useful."

"I learnt that simplifying scientific information when communicating to the public is very important."

Preparation for the Pacific Women in Meteorology series was also part of the training, with the Met Officers writing content focused on women that work in their countries in the hope of inspiring more Pacific island women to consider meteorology as a career choice.

"It's no secret that many of the Met Services across the region, aside from Niue, consist of mostly male staff, through this series we'd like to raise the profile of women that work in Meteorology and attract the interest of more Pacific island women so these numbers grow," said Ms. Christina Leala Gale, the FINPAC Project Manager.

The "Enhancing climate and weather communications for resilient island communities" took place from 21 – 23 July, 2016 in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. It was the second component of a one week training, the first was on the CLIK-Pacific supported by the ROK-PI CLIPS Project, a partnership between the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Climate Center and the Government of the Republic of Korea with SPREP and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Met officers from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna attended the one week workshop which ended on 23 July, 2016.
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