By ILIESA TORA
Apia, Samoa – August 7, 2019: 4.48pm (Enviro News): The media must become critical partners in the regional meteorology work, the Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme said in Apia, Samoa this morning.
Speaking after the opening session of the 5th Pacific Meteorological Council meeting here at the Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi (TATTE) Conference Centre, Mr Kosi Latu said the media and the PMC should work together in ensuring that weather information is shared with members of the public.
“This is critical to help in ensuring that we are able to carry out our mandate responsibly as meteorology services in our nationals and regional countries,” Mr Latu said.
“It is important for the media to understand the information we have and also know about the work that we are doing.”
While delivering his keynote address at the opening session Mr Latu said the PMC meeting this week will have a lot of media presence.
“This PMC is also going to be well covered as we have a strong presence of the local and regional media and broadcasters,” Mr Latu said.
“Radio New Zealand, the Pacific Media Network, the Pacific Environment Journalists Network and from time to time, we will be joined by regional journalist attending the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union workshop and trainings.
“I encourage you to tell your stories. PMC proceedings and outcomes will be communicated (almost real time) around the Pacific. This is supported by SPREP and the WMO (World Meteorology Organisaton).”
Outgoing PMC Chairman and the Director of Solomon Island Meteorological Service, Mr. David Hiba, also made the call for working partnerships between the media and the PMC.
“Having the media understand the work we do, the information we have and helping us share that with people is very, very important,” he said.
“We need training and assistance in how best we can use the media to share our information and messages and at the same time we also need the media to understand the work we do, the process and also the information so they can share them accurately.”
As part of the efforts to help weather forecasters/meteorology officers, hydrologists and geologists understand the media better and how to effectively use media services, SPREP organised a media training as part of the pre-council meeting.
Regional journalists Lisa Williams of PMN, Moera Tuilaepa of RNZ and Iliesa Tora of the PEJN/Department of Environment Tonga were trainers with the SPREP Media team led by Nanette Woonton.
The 5th PMC was opened by Samoa’s Associate Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Taefu Lemi Taefu.
Meanwhile, in his devotional sharing before blessing the meeting Samoan church minister Rev Mariota Siaea said that climate change is the biggest challenge for all of us because it affects everyone, the young and the old.
He said the meeting was important for all stakeholders as the decisions made during the meet will affect the people of the Pacific.
Iliesa Tora is part of the Pacific Media team covering the 5th PMC under the SPREP initiative funded by the PMC/WMO.