In commemoration of the 2021 World Meteorological Day theme “The Ocean, Our Climate and Weather” – translated into Gilbertese: “Te Marawa, Taaran Kanoan boong ao Kanoan te bong” – the Kiribati Meteorological Service (KMS) launched its Strategic Plan and Framework for Weather, Climate and Ocean Services and Action Plan for the period of 2021-2025.
Kiribati is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the Pacific Region with clear and evident impacts of climate change in the frequent occurrence of extreme weather events and in sea-level rise that is affecting its water resources, people’s livelihoods and their health. Effective and precise weather observations, alongside relevant research and services are more critical than ever. According to a statement made by His Excellency, Taneti Mamau, President of the Republic of Kiribati and responsible for the KMS, “The Kiribati Meteorological Service Strategic Plan & Framework for Weather, Climate and Ocean Services 2021-2025 is a guidance in moving forward the Met Office and its functions. More importantly, the strategies and actions embedded within the plan contribute to Pillar 2 of the Kiribati Vision in 20 Years, known as KV20 on the Peace and Security target which suggests that all weather and climate monitoring systems will be advanced and completed by 2036 with an emphasis on improved early warning systems.”
In line with these priorities, the WMO-led Climate Risk Early Warning System (CREWS) Pacific SIDS Project saw the need to support KMS in preparing its Strategic Plan and Framework to govern and guide its everyday services and early warning efforts for its people and communities.
This activity demanded a lot of effort and commitment from KMS Director, Mr Ueneta Toorua, and his team, as well as the WMO-recruited consultant Mr Bapon Fahkruddin. They effectively overcame challenges presented by COVID-19 restrictions by using creative methods of consultation, including online discussions and presentations prior to community consultations with relevant stakeholders. This worked well for Kiribati, whose committed and strong team on the ground understood the processes, their objectives and purposes. The team took ownership of the development of the plan and framework, while at the same time creating awareness of their work within the community. Kiribati is the first Pacific Island country to develop such a framework and plan, becoming a role model for similar initiatives in the entire region. The launch of the KMS Strategic Plan, Framework and Action Plan represents a significant achievement for both WMO and the Republic of Kiribati. The plan was signed by Mr Igam M. Moaniba, the Secretary of the Office of Te Beretitenti (Office of the President).
This achievement has been made possible with support from the CREWS Initiative through the CREWS Pacific SIDS Project. Together with WMO, they continue to support the Pacific Island Countries in the development of their Strategic Plans and Frameworks for Weather, Water and Climate Services.