Combining traditional knowledge with modern scientific methods to aid adaptation in Vanuatu.
Department of Meteorology Geo-Hazards, Vanuatu
Communities in Vanuatu have always related to the climate and weather in their own context. Being highly exposed to risks of extreme events such as tropical cyclones, flooding and droughts, communities have naturally adapted in their own ways. They are able to use their surroundings to indicate in advance the different weather extremes they are likely face. These careful observations of their surrounding have allowed them to come up with their own traditional forecasting methods which have been tested and proven to be very reliable.
In parts of the country where communication is still a challenge, communities continue to rely on their knowledge of the environment to guide their preparedness for extreme events. While there is promise in the use of this traditional based science, there are also challenges.
Mike Waiwai has been working for the past 5 years as a Senior Climatologist and Data Analyst and Archiver at the Climate Section of the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-hazards Department. Currently, he is working as a Human Resource Manager for the Ministry of Climate Change and Adaptation. He is continuing his Post Graduate Diploma in Climate Change and Adaptation from the University of the South Pacific (USP). Previously, has done a lot of work with the traditional knowledge and works with communities on how they can use traditional knowledge application to aid adaption.