SOPAC News - 1st Quarter : January to March, 2014
Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 14:51
Cook Islands Completes Maritime Boundaries Negotiations
Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 14:43
Cook Islands is the first Pacific nation to complete negotiations with its neighbours on its maritime boundaries.
But it has taken several years to conclude the border treaties with states like Kiribati Niue and Tokelau and involved working closely with Geoscience Australia and the Applied GeoScience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
Listen to the full interview
Speaker: Vaipo Mataora, Technical Adviser, Maritime Boundaries Project, Cook Islands
Source: Radio Australia, 27th March, 2014
Post-Cyclone Rapid Assessment Assists Tongan Emergency Authorities
Last Updated on Monday, 17 March 2014 14:00
12 March 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – A rapid post-disaster assessment recently conducted by specialists from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) will help Tongan emergency managers better understand the impacts of Cyclone Ian and prepare for future storms.
In early January, Cyclone Ian devastated parts of Tonga, particularly in the Ha’apai island group. The category-five storm killed one person, injured 14 others, displaced more than 4,000 people, and destroyed food crops and infrastructure.
In the wake of this storm, Tongan authorities requested assistance from SPC’s Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) to assess damages on island of Lifuka in the Ha’apai Group.
‘They wanted us to provide technical data on the extent of inundation and erosion in coastal zones as well as water supplies and groundwater contamination in Lifuka,’ SPC Senior Technical Assistant and Oceanographer Zulfikar Begg explains. ‘They also asked us to train their geology staff so that they could do the same rapid assessments in the outer islands.’
Feedback: Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development in the Pacific (SRDP)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 10:48
The Pacific Region is in the process of preparing a Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development in the Pacific (SRDP). The SRDP is at the forefront of the region's efforts to take a lead role globally in addressing climate change and disaster risk management in a more integrated manner.
WE NEED YOUR FEEDBACK! A global consultation process is now underway and will close on the 3rd of March 2014. Please join this consultation to provide your comments and insights – we welcome feedback from everyone and you can provide as much or as little detail as you wish.
Visit www.pacificdisaster.net/srdp now to read a draft of the SRDP and provide your insights.
Surveys underway to update Vanuatu navigational charts
Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 12:47
9 April 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – Work begins next week on a series of underwater surveys to produce updated navigational charts for Vanuatu. Like many Pacific Island countries, Vanuatu has a vast maritime area. Modern charts will result in safer navigation for both cargo shipping and cruise ships, producing economic and social benefits for Vanuatu.
A team of hydrographers and technicians from the Government of Vanuatu and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) will collect the necessary data over several months. Their supported by the New Zealand government, the United Kingdom’s Hydrographic Office, and the Government of Vanuatu.
The survey will chart four critical areas which have been identified through a risk assessment carried out by New Zealand – Luganville and Champagne Bay on Espiritu Santo, and the islands of Wala, Malekula, and Homo Bay, Pentecost.
‘The port of Luganville in particular is of high economic value to Vanuatu,’ says Mr Jens Kruger, Acting Deputy Director of SPC’s Geoscience for Development Programme. ‘The current chart from this port relies mostly on 19th century data and no new information has been added to the chart since the Second World War.’
Starting in July 2014, the International Maritime Organisation’s Safety of Life at Sea Convention regulations will require member countries to move toward using electronic navigational charts in their regions for safe shipping reasons.
The Pacific explores the links between water and energy on World Water Day
Last Updated on Saturday, 22 March 2014 08:56
Did you know that 8% of global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers? Did you also know that most of the electricity generated in the Pacific Islands Countries and Territories is from water?
The links between these two scarce and important resources – water and energy – is the theme of this year’s World Water Day, celebrated globally on 22nd March.
Each year, World Water Day is acknowledged throughout the Pacific with the support of awareness materials prepared and distributed by the SOPAC Division of SPC. This year’s theme draws attention to the vital role of water and energy sources to the sustainable development of Pacific Island Countries and Territories.
While energy is needed to pump, treat and distribute water to Pacific households, water is also an important energy source in several Pacific Island Countries, where the energy of rivers and streams is harnessed by hydro-electric facilities at the municipal, village and even household scale.
Solomone Fifita, head of the SPC Economic Development Division’s Energy Programme, noted the close linkages that exist between the conservation of water and energy resources. “The choices we make every day on our water and energy use are closely related, and decisions on the supply, distribution, price and use of water and energy impact one another,” he said.
First Annoucement: 2014 Pacific Platform For Disaster Risk Management & 20th Regional Disaster Managers Meeting
Last Updated on Monday, 03 March 2014 13:17
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) are pleased to announce the 2014 meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management which will be held from 2nd – 4th June 2014 at the Novotel Hotel in Suva, Fiji. The Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management is the annual opportunity for Pacific island countries and territories, development partners and donors, civil society, private sector as well as other stakeholders to share experiences and knowledge in building the resilience of their communities to disasters. In addition, the SPC will also convene the 20th Regional Disaster Managers Meeting also at the Novotel Hotel from 5th – 6th June 2014.
In 2011, the Pacific islands region agreed to develop a Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development in the Pacific (SRDP) by 2015 to succeed the Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action 2005 – 2015 and Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change 2006 – 2015. The new strategy will provide a new approach on how to efficiently address DRM and Climate Change within the context of risk resilient development. The process of developing this new strategy has become known as the ‘Roadmap’.
Improving Drinking Water on Kiritimati Island
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 09:52
The Water and Sanitation Programme has commenced implementation of the “Improving Drinking Water Supply for Kiritimati Island” project. The objective of the project is to improve livelihoods and secure safe and sustainable drinking water with the focus on infrastructural upgrade of the reticulated supply to the two main communities of London and Tennessee. The project is funded by the European Union with a budget of €4.8 million to be implemented over a four year period.
The Contribution Agreement between the EU and SPC was signed in January 2014 with the Project Coordinator, George Beck, now based in Kiritimati Island. The project will be working closely with the Ministry of Line and Phoenix Islands Development (MLPD), Government of Kiribati, including other key stakeholders to improve the supply of drinking water to the two main communities on Kiritimati Island.
The first task will involve rehabilitating the existing reticulated infrastructure to improve the flow of water and collect data so as to better understand the status of the groundwater lenses. The project will also focus on building capacity at MLPD and undertake awareness in promoting good management and conservation practices.