AS the executive heads of provincial councils, all roko tui are being groomed to play key roles in assisting Fijians build resilience against climate change at the Fiji Inter-Provincial Adaptation Forum that began at Nadave, Tailevu yesterday.
And it was heard that roko tui from the 14 provincial councils worked very closely with villages and communities, making them a crucial channel of communication on issues of climate change.
The two-day forum, jointly hosted by the iTaukei Affairs Board and WWF South Pacific Program, aims to provide roko tui with knowledge and a greater understanding of climate change issues.
Deputy permanent secretary for iTaukei Affairs Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga said all the roko tui played an important role in the dissemination of this information to the grassroots level.
"We have diverted our task and refocus our strategies to the conservation of our environment through raising awareness to the villagers," Colonel Kurusiga said.
"At the same time, we are protecting our values, culture because they are linked to the environment we live in," he said.
Colonel Kurusiga said they would also protect the children and women. Speakers shared their experiences, lessons, tools and how they assessed and managed the unfavourable impacts of climate change.
The forum is aimed at strengthening adaptive capacity in climate smart planning at the provincial level, with the aim of reducing vulnerability to climate change.
AusAID building resilience project co-ordinator Monifa Fiu said in a statement: "They (roko tui) administer provincial matters on the ground is another avenue of communicating climate change and extreme weather patterns messages straight down to the district and village level."
She said it was a direct channel of communication where the message reached the people.
"This is a crucial role and they need to understand the intricacies of the issue and the cross-cutting principles.
"Good understanding breeds positive action, informs decision-making and allows for proper translation of the message," Ms Fiu said.
She added with the help of the roko tui network, people at the grassroots level would become aware of climate change and would be able to respond better to reduce the risks they faced.