By Evan Wasuka, Pacific regional freelance journalist
3 July 2013 Nadi, Fiji - National meteorological services in the region have been encouraged to join the Pacific Climate Change Portal (www.pacificclimatechange.net/) as a way of getting meteorological information out to the public.
Launched in September 2012 by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, SPREP, the portal has been developed into a hub for climate change information in the region.
Presenting at the 2nd Pacific Meteorological Council, in Nadi, Fiji, Makelesi Gonelevu of SPREP says the addition of meteorological data on the portal would be of great benefit to users.
“Climate science is at the heart of climate change. National met services have the relevant scientific data and they have access to the latest information. Their input on the portal would mean better scientific information for the public.”
Since its launch, the portal has registered 100,000 hits up to March 2013.The portal is a clearing house for climate change information, containing an events calendar, experts directory, documents library, country profiles and a projects database.
Gonelevu says the project database has information on over 100 Climate Change projects in SPREP member countries.
“The portal is useful for donors, to see what climate change activities are taking place in different countries.”
Although the portal has over 600 documents on site, building content continues to be the portal’s biggest challenge. To counter this SPREP has issued a call to member countries for information and content. The plan is for country information on the portal to be updated by country editors, who are nominated by governments.
“Before information is updated on the portal, it goes through a flow of approval by the national governments. Once it is approved then it will be updated.”
The Pacific Climate Change portal is administered by two committees. The first consists of an advisory committee made up of officials from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, University of the South Pacific, GIZ and SPREP. The second committee is a technical group from the same organisations. SPREP has conducted portal training for 10 PICTs in Fiji and the Federated States of Micronesia, to work with country editors.
During the 2nd PMC, Palau requested to be included in future training's. Three countries, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga have started development of their own national portals, which will be integrated into the regional portal.