SPC/GIZ-supported Fijian language climate change glossary valuable in explaining climate change
Friday, 22 March 2013 20:07

Friday 15 March 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) – Suva

iTaukei CC glossary launching - photo WWFEvery week, experts from the Language Unit of the Fiji Ministry of iTaukei (indigenous Fijian) Affairs talk for an hour on the national radio station about the Fijian language and iTaukei cultural issues. Since early this year, talks have largely centred on climate change. Making use of the iTaukei Climate Change Glossary developed last year by the ministry in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), language experts eloquently explain climate change terms in the Fijian language. They select terms from the glossary, explain the meaning to iTaukei listeners and then adeptly respond to callers needing elaboration.

In the past, this elaboration was a daunting task given the many technical and foreign terms associated with climate change issues. Though the Fijian language and prose is vivid and expressive, some climate change words are new introductions which the existing vocabulary could not precisely translate. Such words include ‘carbon dioxide’ and ‘greenhouse gases’. The iTaukei Climate Change Glossary contains 59 climate change phrases and definitions that have been translated to the Fijian language. ‘Carbon dioxide’ is translated to kaboni dokosaiti (new phrase) and greenhouse gases is kasi rara - literally meaning ‘gas with heat’.

The iTaukei Climate Change Glossary was developed through an extensive stakeholder process involving Fijian language experts, educators, scientists, field practitioners, community facilitators, indigenous resource owners, government administrators and technical experts from different sectors and organisations. The SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region programme supported the facilitation of these participatory consultations and provided technical advice and short workshop sessions on climate change issues.

The glossary was endorsed by the Fiji Cabinet on 20 November 2012 and is the first of its kind in the Pacific. On its endorsement, the Fiji Prime Minister and Minister for iTaukei Affairs, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, said that the glossary will serve as the official guiding document for the development of all Fijian learning material on climate change and related subjects.

Mr Robert Kressier, GIZ Director Philippines and the PacificThe glossary was jointly launched by the Fiji Minister for Fisheries and Forests, Inia Seruiratu, and the GIZ Country Director (for the Philippines and the Pacific), Robert Kressirer in Suva on 23 November 2012. Mr Kressirer praised the wide consultative process taken to develop the glossary, saying that the involvement of many professions and organisations was necessary to ensure that translation was both technically and linguistically correct and cogent. He said that GIZ was honoured to have played a role in the development of the first national vernacular climate change glossary in the Pacific Islands.

The task of explaining and understanding climate change terms with convoluted definitions is now not as daunting for iTaukei educators, trainers, community facilitators, communication officers, and the general iTaukei public.

The glossary can be downloaded from this link: http://www.spc.int/lrd/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=285&Itemid=48

For more information, please contact Christine Fung: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it