» Sharing Perceptions of Adaptation, Resilience and Climate Knowledge A UNESCO Project in the Pacific
29.05.2013 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Sharing Perceptions of Adaptation, Resilience and Climate Knowledge A UNESCO Project in the Pacific

UNESCO’s Apia office for the Pacific States is excited to have launched an important and innovative new project in Fiji that will investigate climate change perceptions, decision making and adaptive capacities of communities in the Pacific. The project will also pioneer a ground-breaking new innovative mobile survey run on both Digicel (with technology provided by Mobimedia) and Vodafone networks in Fiji for collecting data.

The project “SPARCK” Sharing Perceptions of Adaptation, Resilience and Climate Knowledge is a multi-country research and capacity building initiative with media, teachers and communities living in and around conservation areas in the Pacific.This is also part of a wider program on increasing climate literacy and knowledge in the Pacific. SPARCK recently launched in Samoa in March and, now running in Fiji, has been supported by key partners including the Ministry of Information, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Education.

Dr. Denis Chang Seng, UNESCO’s science programme specialist for the Pacific States points out that:

“Although this work is still in progress, it is becoming evident that in order to increase resilience against climate change impacts there is a need to rethink key issues, like how to target weaknesses in perception, which often leads to poor decision making. The results so far emphasize the need to factor social risk related perceptions and behaviors when designing integrated climate change polices and strategies.”

Focus groups with each of these communities took place in Fiji last week, and the project is now running a climate change perceptions survey with each group through mobile phones. Ms. Joelle Auffray, Apidae Development Innovations Co-Founder and Director, said that using mobile technology creates new ways of seeking input of local voices: “Using mobile phones to communicate with people allows for information to come from a wider range of communities so we can get a more accurate picture of climate perceptions.”

This project is facilitated by Melbourne-based Apidae Development Innovations, and represents part of a new partnership between UNESCO and the University of Melbourne. Through this project, UNESCO is looking to foster local solutions to climate change and collaborate with teachers, media and communities in building climate knowledge and resilience. Dr. Adam Bumpus, co-founder of Apidae Development Innovations and Assistant Professor at the University of Melbourne said: “the combination  of mobile technology and in-person meetings is allowing us to get a better understanding of local solutions that can then be shared.”

The SPARCK project has also created a community discussion on Facebook where information, pictures and videos are being shared across the Pacific on climate change. Since its launch in Samoa in March, the page has quickly grown, prompting comments and feedbacks reaching people across the Pacific, the UK, USA and Canada.

A final report will be disseminated at the end of the project sharing the perceptions of Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu to help build capacity for local solutions in fostering climate knowledge and resilience. For more information on the project, please visit the SPARCK Facebook page: “Sparck: Pacific Climate Change Project”.

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