Drought, climate change ‘hot topics’ for May 5

National, Normal

A MAJOR stakeholder forum on “preparing PNG for drought and climate change” will take place at the Sir Alkan Tololo research centre at Bubia near Lae, Morobe province, on May 5.
The event, organised by the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), is part of the annual Agricultural Innovations Show.
The forum is aimed at creating awareness, debate related topics and find best ways to prepare rural communities for drought conditions.
NARI director-general Dr Raghunath Ghodake said over the past three years, NARI had been spearheading a campaign to prepare PNG for recurring periods of prolonged drought linked to changes in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
He said this year’s show was in recognition of this urgent need to prepare PNG for such a scenario.
“We believe this forum will be an important milestone along the road to secure lives and livelihoods in PNG against a backdrop of increased climate change-related disasters both here and within the wider Pacific region,” Dr Ghodake said.
A major highlight of the one-day event will be the launching of NARI’s national drought preparedness project funded by the Government.
The project is aimed at equipping resources centres in more than 40 drought vulnerable districts throughout the country to help communities cope with severe drought conditions in just a few years time.
Dr Ghodake said invited participants were expected from almost 50 international and national agencies, Government departments, NGOs and community groups.
Presentations will cover important issues on food distribution networks, clean water provision and epidemic disease control in the run-up to a severe drought event.
Drought project leader Dr John Bailey said a model resources centre would be on display, fully equipped with all the information and re-sources that would be made available to some 50 centres throughout PNG under the new project.
The show will also feature displays from all NARI regional centres and other organsisations in research and development, health, education, business and other community development initiatives.