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Remarks by Vanuatu’s Department of Climate Change Director Mr Mike Waiwai, at the opening of the benchmarking study tour, fostering resilience education in the Pacific

I would like to thank and welcome the SPC team and the representative from Fiji and its different sectors, it’s a pleasure to have you with us this morning.

The reason we are here is to share our stories and experiences on how to be more resilient in terms of climate change and disaster. I also would like to welcome the local Government departments that are here, the department of local authority, Vanuatu Meteorology, the energy department, and my staff from the Department of Climate Change. I am sure you have all had a good time, moving around and sharing experiences in your different communities.

This initiative is very timely and given that we share the same ocean, sometimes our experiences are different. I am saying this because this year, Vanuatu went through a Twin Tropical Cyclones, happening at the same time which were Category 4 and 5. It was an experience from the grassroot level right to national level, as we tried to figure out how we could hope, especially being hit by two cyclones, on the same week. So, I believe the stories that we have in different settings and islands that we represent and come from will really help us to share those stories, experiences and will help us to find ways on how to improve in terms of resilience when we talk about Building, Back Better. Without further a due, I believe the experiences from the different communities in Fiji will help the communities in Vanuatu. So as our experiences here, would help other communities in PNG, Solomon Islands, and other Pacific Island countries to be prepared to face disaster and climate change.

Before I finish, I would like to leave you with a Proverb that’s states “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” The SPC team this morning is here to teach the communities to share the experience with other sectors on how people can fish, and which bait they will use in terms of development and disaster preparedness because they will not run to you in times of disaster. During disasters, we will be at different locations, and I am sure that throughout the week, the stories will help to improve the capacity, help with the understanding, and improve in terms of resilience for people to prepare and contribute to the well-being of their community of practice. With that I wish us all a success in this talanoa, dialoguing, Toktok stret, in Vanuatu that means, just say what you want to say, the stories that will help others to learn from that.

Tangkyu Tumas