The three-day National Climate Outlook Forum opened this morning with a call for investment in infrastructure that can withstand shocks and stress of climate change as the country loses 4.5% annually of its GDP (Gross domestic product) due to natural hazards.
More than 100 participants from the government, private sector and NGOs are attending the workshop which will end on Thursday.
Opening the forum, Under Secretary and Supervising Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Karl Kuper said Solomon Islands is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to impacts of climate change and disasters.
“It is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries and is ranked 2nd most vulnerable country on the World Risk Index 2021,” said Kuper.
He point to the World Bank report which stated that Solomon Islands faces an annual loss of 4.5% of the country’s GDP due to natural hazards and most of these are losses are related to infrastructure.
Kuper added that climate change is expected to exacerbate these risks by increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such us cyclones, floods, droughts and storm surges.
“These events can cause severe damage damage to our infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, buildings, water supply, and eccentricity networks, which are essential for our social and economic development,” he said.
Kuper said the statistics have spoken and it is crystal clear that there is an urgent need to invest in infrastructure that can withstand the shocks and stresses of climate change and natural disasters, which pose significant threats to the development and well-being of Solomon Islands.
“We continue to see on social media, the ongoing call about deteriorating road conditions in most of the provinces including Honiara City especially after rain. It is now time for us to make the paradigm shift and I am so thankful that we now have this opportunity. Let us use this platform to facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge among stakeholders, including government agencies, NGO, academia, private sector and development partners.”
The Ministry of Environment Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology in collaboration with Solomon Islands Infrastructure Programme with the theme Building Resilient Infrastructure to Climate Change Impacts and Disasters.