The event starts on Friday at the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa.
Following the success of the last year’s northern islands workshop held in July, Climate Change Cook Islands, Strengthening the Resilience of Islands and Communities to Climate Change (SRIC-CC) programme and National Environment Services, Ridge to Reef (R2R) project proposed to host this year’s workshop for the senior students from the five schools of the southern group, Mangaia, Mitiaro, Atiu, Mauke and Aitutaki.
Climate Change Small Grants project coordinator, Mia Teaurima says the workshop aims to give southern group students the opportunity to build awareness on matters relating to climate change, protected areas management, biodiversity and other environmental issues.
It aims to help develop their research skills to develop interest in the various disciplines involved as potential career paths while also encouraging them to come up with innovative ideas on how to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The programme includes site visits to various organisations such as the composting unit in Titikaveka. The students will also look at Muri lagoon water quality assessment and weather monitoring at the Cook Islands Meteorological Service office.
Since each of the islands the pupils come from depend on their airports and harbours for supplies and transport, exposure to the various organisations will introduce them to different adaptation measures carried out on Rarotonga and show them what is being done by government and the private sector, Teaurima says.
The project also seeks to provide technical support to the schools based on proposals for projects that they would like to see on their respective islands. This will involve students talking to leaders on their islands and researching and collating background information.
“The students come up with the idea, the idea gets developed further by the teams here and then support is given to them via their island council so that there is continuous buy-in and support all the way through proposal development and implementation” says National Environment Services, R2R project coordinator Maria Tuoro.
With the expectation of more intense cyclones due to climate change, the project aims to strengthen the resilience of the island system against intense weather events, making communities safer.
The students are encouraged to use local resources which are better suited to their environment rather than introducing foreign elements.
Teaurima says adaptation to climate change is not only government’s responsibility but everyone’s business.
“I encourage the students to take full advantage of the opportunities that are given to them at this week’s workshop.”
“The planning committee has been very busy organising a simple yet effective programme to ensure to maximise the benefits to the students,” adds Climate Change coordinator Celine Dyer.
A full workshop programme will cover the students’ key areas of interest, including a movie night that will be open to the public, as well as a quiet ANZAC luncheon.
The exciting Film Festival will be the main feature on Thursday night from 5pm to 9pm in partnership with Rotaract Rarotonga at the Punanga Nui Market.
The main purpose of the Film Festival is to showcase Cook Islands documentaries around Climate Change and the Environment.
The community are being encouraged to support the Pa Enua School Students and attend this fun film festival with activities and food stalls.
SRICC-CC and R2R would like to acknowledge the support of the Office of the Prime Minister, National Environment Services, Ministry of Marine Resources, Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, Rotaract Rarotonga and sponsors Air Rarotonga, Bank of the South Pacific and Blue Sky for this workshop.
- Climate Change CI