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Dr. Charles, Ugo Amadioha, Dr. Lagi and Dr. Zhang.
The significance of the use of Traditional Knowledge (TK) for Weather Forecast and Traditional Mitigation and Adaptation Approaches to Climate Change in Tuvalu and the Pacific region was highlighted at a workshop hosted by Dr. Wen Zhang at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on January 24, 2020.
Dr. Rosiana Lagi, USP Tuvalu Campus Director, attended the workshop and delivered a keynote presentation funded by the Foundation for Youth Development, a global Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) based in New Jersey, the USA.
Dr. Lagi presented to about 40 civil and environmental engineering undergraduate students at NJIT, with other participants such as NJIT’s faculty, graduate students, and Dr. Charles Nyandiga, a representative the GEF-SGP. The workshop was moderated by Dr. Wen Zhang, Associate Professor at NJIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.
At the conclusion of her presentation, Dr. Lagi stated that it is important that TK is woven with scientific knowledge so that natural disasters can be predicted more accurately and people be informed well beforehand so that they can be better prepared before any natural disaster. She mentioned that TK is readily available, relevant and context specific, adding that it is cheaper to use this knowledge to prevent costly damages that will be incurred from a lack of preparation. Finally, she stated that starting small by using this important knowledge can help save Tuvalu, save Oceania, and consequently, save the world.
Following Dr. Lagi’s talk, Mr. Ugo Amadioha, the FYD New Jersey Coordinator, presented key outcomes from FYD’s community-based project in Tuvalu, Tonga and Nauru. According to Dr. Nyandiga, he found the presentation very useful and hoped that such educational workshops could be organised in Tuvalu soon.
During the Q&A session, Mr. Amadioha stated that the TEK exercise in Tuvalu provides a baseline and a window into past knowledge on community level adaptation strategies that have been preserved over centuries through oral history. This knowledge can now be documented and passed on to the next generation within academic and non-academic setting, while providing a yardstick for comparative analysis on changing weather patterns.
Climate change presents unique challenges to Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The difficulties that all countries face in effectively coping with climate change impacts are exacerbated in SIDS because of their small geographical area, isolation and exposure. The associated development challenges from sea-level rise, altered rainfall patterns, and storm-surges threaten to reverse progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals now and in the future. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been offering on-the-ground support for small island and low-lying countries at the global, regional and national scales.
Resilience in the Face of Rising Sea Level: Harnessing Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in The Pacific Island of Tuvalu, the workshop was supported by Global Environmental Facilities-Small Grant Programme (GEF-SGP).
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