Vanuatu national summit on climate and agricultural resilience
Monday, 27 May 2013 13:11
Last week, over 100 government extension officers from all areas of Vanuatu met in Lenakel, Tanna for a five-day agro-meteorology summit and a climate field school – a comprehensive programme on practical adaptation strategies to climate and climate change in Vanuatu, with a specific focus on building agricultural resilience through sharing weather and climate information.

The Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-hazards Department, the National Advisory Board on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the SPC-GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit) Climate Change Vanuatu Programme jointly hosted the events.

Vanuatu’s climate is changing, and being prepared for and adaptable to the consequences of climate variability is a government priority. The Government of Vanuatu and SPC-GIZ Climate Change Vanuatu Programme hosted two previous agro-meteorology summits (in 2011 and 2012) to discuss and share techniques on adaptation and preparedness. Following the success of those summits, there was a call for even more hands-on, practical training on adaptation strategies, and on the development of written and audiovisual materials that can be used in extension work by government and non-government agencies.

This year’s agro-meteorology summit brought together extension officers from the land-based sectors (agriculture, forestry and environment) and key farmers, to learn from agro-meteorology experts and share ideas on important agro-meteorology products, such as seasonal forecasts, crop advisories, and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) guidance handbooks. Over five days, the summit and climate field school provided a series of practical activities, designed to:

  • train officers to better understand the concepts of climate variability, ENSO and agro-meteorology;
  • identify agro-meteorology products and services useful to Vanuatu stakeholders;
  • review how agro-meteorological and climate and climate change advisory products are being shared with all sections of society (commercial and traditional) and how to improve this;
  • practise climate change adaptation options for different crops, trees and animals;
  • update traditional cropping calendars from each province and integrate them with meteorological information;
  • recall the impact of specific climate events in Vanuatu’s recent history;
  • prioritise needs around specific adaptation technologies.

Equally important, this summit will assist Vanuatu to meet its international climate and climate change obligations, specifically those under the World Meteorological Organization. The summit has provided an opportunity to undertake activities agreed to under the Global Framework for Climate Services, which Vanuatu is participating in.

The agro-meteorology summit and climate field school were funded by the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance and the SPC-GIZ Vanuatu Climate Change Programme. The summit and field school have continued the valuable work Vanuatu is undertaking to build resilience of the nation’s agriculture and food gardens.

For more information, contact SPC-GIZ Climate Change Vanuatu at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , +678 29594 or contact the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazards Department on +678 24686.

Photograph attached: Vanuatu banana multiplication school