The workshop’s primary objective was to introduce the UNESCO project “Strengthening Resilience of Coastal and Small Island Communities towards Hydro-meteorological Hazards and Climate Change Impacts (StResCom)” to stakeholders and to secure their participation in project development and implementation. The first two days were a workshop of experts, while the third day was opened to a wider audience to officially launch the project funded by the Japanese Funds-in-Trust. The experts’ workshop brought together 15 experts from Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, and Timor Leste, where they were invited to provide inputs concerning disaster risk reduction and climate change impacts, focusing on hydro‐meteorological hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities in the context of coastal and small island communities. During the two days, participants from the three beneficiary countries—Indonesia, the Philippines, and Timor Leste—had productive discussions to define the focus of the project and some key terms, and develop a plan for the implementation of activities in the three countries. It was decided that the StResCom project’s focus would be first to collect and record Local and Indigenous Knowledge related to hydro-meteorological hazards in coastal and small island communities, and then secondly to ensure that this knowledge is made accessible and used, thus enabling integration of Local and Indigenous Knowledge into policy.
At the opening ceremony on the third day, Mr. Robert Lee, Deputy Director of UNESCO Office, Jakarta mentioned the uniqueness of the UNESCO project in that the focus is on indigenous knowledge related to hydro-meteorological hazards and climate change adaptation, noting that Indigenous Knowledge is a niche focus of UNESCO. Mr. Lee’s remarks were followed by speeches from representatives of the three countries: Mr. Andi Rusandi from Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia; Ms. Susan Espinueva from Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration; and Mr. Francisco Rosario from National Directorate of Disaster Management, Timor Leste. Nearly 50 participants representing national and international NGOs, donors, government and UN agencies attended the third day of the regional workshop.
In the first year of this three-year project, national workshops will be held in each country, followed by action research on Local and Indigenous Knowledge related to hydro-meteorological disasters and climate change adaptation in coastal and small island communities. Haburas Foundation in Timor Leste, Center for Disaster Preparedness in the Philippines and Indonesian Society for Disaster Management (MPBI) in Indonesia are expected to organize national workshops in each country by May 2011.