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VR in global push

Nasik Swami
Friday, November 03, 2017

THE Fijian presidency at COP23 will use 360 degree Virtual Reality (VR) as a key part of its global push for stronger action on climate change at the conference next week.

As part of its presidency of COP23 in Bonn, Germany, the Fijian Government will launch an immersive VR experience that aims to transport delegates, decision-makers and the global community to Fiji to experience the current and future impacts of climate change on the Pacific.

Featured in this program is Our Home, Our People video which was produced by the World Bank.

The video takes viewers to communities across Fiji to experience the stories of four people whose lives have been fundamentally changed by climate change, including through last year's devastating Category Five Tropical Cyclone Winston.

The VR experience includes the story of Vunisavisavi, a remote coastal community in Vanua Levu which has already seen significant relocation because of the impacts of rising sea levels.

Our Home, Our People is launching alongside the Fijian Government's Climate Vulnerability Assessment 2017, a significant new report which sets out, in significant detail, the climate impacts already felt by Fiji, and identifies possible strategies and costs to make Fiji more climate resilient.

Agriculture Minister and Fiji's climate champion, Inia Seruiratu said the VR provided a powerful medium for helping decision-makers and members of the public to deeply understand the impacts climate change was already having on Fiji and Fijians.

"Working with partners such as the World Bank, the Fijian COP23 presidency is supporting a number of virtual reality projects as a way to share stories about climate change," he said.

"We believe in VR's power to give audiences — both decision-makers at COP23 in Bonn, and people across the world — the chance to see and experience the impacts of climate change in far-away vulnerable countries and isolated communities in the Pacific, in order to better understand our call for stronger action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increased investment in climate adaptation.

"I hope through VR, the urgency to act will be highlighted," he said in a World Bank statement.

World Bank's country director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Michel Kerf said Our Home, Our People was about delving into the stories behind the numbers and projections of how climate change would — and is — impacting Fiji and the Pacific.

The Our Home, Our People project is produced by the Fijian Government, COP23 secretariat and the World Bank, in partnership with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and VR specialists, S1T2.

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