Western Santo – Vanuatu voice at COP26 climate forum

The Santo Sunset Environment Network, a community group from Wunpuko in the remote west of Santo Island, has been able to voice Vanuatu’s concern on climate issues at the COP26.

Representing Vanuatu, the Chairman of the Santo Sunset Environment Network, Allan Taman attended the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference via zoom and delivered a moving address to the international delegates.

Speaking to VBTC’s Vois Blong Sanma, Mr Taman said he was able to share Vanuatu’s experiences on the impacts of climate change and of using traditional knowledge and practices to manage the impacts.

“Santo Sunset Environment Network represented Vanuatu in this United Nations Climate Change Conference, along with representatives from other Pacific Island countries like Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Fiji,” Mr Taman said.

Mr Taman says he was able to share Vanuatu’s experience on the recent category five Cyclone Harold and how people were able to recover and survive after the cyclone through traditional knowledge.

He says he also shared Vanuatu’s experience on how people were able to predict a cyclone by reading signs from nature and how these signs helped people prepare for disasters.

“Our message to the delegates and world leaders in this climate conference is to stop the use of fossil fuels and to continue to keep Vanuatu in mind and work together to help people during disasters.”

Mr Taman says he is confident the leaders and delegates took note of his message.

He says Vanuatu is a disaster-prone country but its people are resilient because of their traditional knowledge and practices.

Mr Taman praised and acknowledged the 3 Link Communications that made it possible for Santo Sunset Environment Network and western Santo to participate in the international conference via zoom through its newly installed Community WiFi service, powered by the Kacific1 satellite.

He says this was his and West Santo’s first opportunity to participate in an international COP session.

“We were happy to voice our concerns to the world and to see our image displayed on our banner during the opening parade of the 26th Climate Change Conference in Scotland,” Mr Taman said.

Mr Taman says climate change is real and because Vanuatu will face more severe cyclones in the future, the current generation must continue to learn from the elders about how to survive natural disasters by using traditional knowledge and practices.


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