Port Vila, Vanuatu – In terms of disaster risk worldwide, the country of Vanuatu is the riskiest country to live in with more than one third of its population affected by natural disasters each year . This risk became reality last year as the largest cyclone to hit the country in recorded history devastated parts of Vanuatu with the impact still being felt by many of the population.
Increasing the country’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from disaster while also preparing for the predicted impacts of climate change is critical and the Government of Vanuatu is working very hard to ensure this is being done. One such way is to increase access to credible and tested information on disaster resilience and climate change through a database that is accessible to anyone that seeks information.
The Vanuatu GeoPortal is directly led by the Ministry of Climate Change in the country and supported by its National Advisory Board. Work is currently being done to make the research and information loaded onto this site more accessible to people with the engagement of an Information Systems Management Specialist. Daryl Abel is the specialist that will be working with partners to help credible and reliable research and information about Vanuatu’s disaster risk resilience and climate change situation become more accessible.
This role has been funded as part of the €19.37 million Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the Pacific Community.
As Daryl explained, access to credible information and being able to know where to find it is critical.
“That’s why we require projects and researchers working in Vanuatu to share their results and information so anyone in the world looking for information on climate change and disaster risk reduction in Vanuatu it can be accessed on this portal in a user friendly way,” he said.
The system has already been created but Daryl’s role will help make finding information far more user friendly while working with partners under the direct support of the Ministry of Climate Change to address this need.
Director General for the Ministry of Climate Change, Jesse Benjamin said access to information is critical for the entire country of Vanuatu with people needing credible information and businesses being able to use this research and information to make informed decisions.
Ambassador for the European Union (Vanuatu and Solomon Islands) H.E. Mr Leonidas Tezapsidis was recently in the country and commends the role the government are playing in making information accessible to the broader audience.
“Disasters and climate change impacts are inevitable in countries like Vanuatu so having access to the best information and being able to find and use that information for future planning and sustainable development is critical for small island nations and this work helps achieve that,” he said.
Project Manager for the BSRP project that is supporting this role, Taito Nakalevu, said innovative ways to increasing access to credible information is critical in the Pacific and Vanuatu is becoming a leader with the upgrading of its geoportal network.
About the Building Safety and Resilience Project
The Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP)-European Union (EU) project called Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project (BSRP) is a €19.37million project funded by the EU and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). Its objective is to reduce the vulnerability, as well as the social, economic and environmental costs, of disasters caused by natural hazards, thereby achieving regional and national sustainable development and poverty alleviation in ACP Pacific Island states.