SOPAC - Applied Geoscience and Technology Division - SPC

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SOPAC PROGRAMMES

Ocean and Islands

Water and Sanitation

Disaster Reduction

Provides applied ocean, island and coastal geoscience services to support countries to govern and develop their natural resources, increase their resilience to hazards and facilitates data-based approaches to adaptation. Provides technical support through capacity building, awareness and advocacy related to the management of water resources and the provision of water supply and sanitation services. Provides technical support to strengthen disaster risk management practices.


 

SPC Highlights Technology and the Positive Advances Facing Pacific Regional Development at the GIS and Remote Sensing Conference

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Thursday 27 November 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Suva, Fiji - The Pacific region continues to face development issues and technology of all kinds is assisting many areas of decision making, wealth generation and job creation. This was the focus of opening remarks delivered by Professor Michael Petterson, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (AGTD) at the Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS & RS) conference.

The GIS & RS conference opened on Tuesday, 25th November at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji with the theme “Empowering Pacific Communities through Improved Geospatial Data”, and where approximately 280 participants were in attendance with representatives from countries and agencies from the Pacific and beyond.

‘Although we have some way to go because of limited capacity and resources, organisations like SPC have made a solid start in developing modern databases, applying new technologies, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, multivariate satellite spectra and bathymetric instruments. These technologies allow for rapid coverage of land and lagoon, enabling experts to determine land use, forestry cover, areas of mineralisation, sites for geothermal energy and to assist with planning decisions,’ Petterson described.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2014 11:30 Read more...
 

Video: Tracking Tuvalu Tides

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The nation of Tuvalu is made up of nine low-lying islands scattered across the surface of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  These islands are home to over 11 thousand people and for them, the sea is a major source of food.  However, the ebb and flow of the tides has also brought change to these islands.

The sea level monitoring station in Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu, is one of 13 located throughout the Pacific region and undergoing maintenance. For the past 20 years it has been collecting and analysing vital data in tracking Tuvalu tides.  These monitoring stations help to better predict and prepare for the extreme high tide which, in turn helps prevent great loss to personal property.  Other vital services also depend on this important information e.g. infrastructure, large buildings etc.

The monitoring stations are part of the Australian Government- funded Pacific Sea Level Monitoring Project in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate and Ocean Support Program, Geoscience Australia, Pacific Island Governments and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC).

Click "Read More" below to watch video.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 November 2014 12:57 Read more...
 

Kiribati, the EU and SPC partner to ensure clean water and safe sanitation in atoll communities

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The European Union, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Government of Kiribati yesterday formalised a 3.3 Million Euro (4.75 Million AUD) partnership that is expected to increase access to safe water and sanitation in 35 villages in Kiribati's Gilbert Islands.

Funded by the European Union and to be implemented by SPC, the Water and Sanitation in Kiribati Outer Islands project will focus on improving water and sanitation infrastructure on the 16 islands of Kiribati's Gilbert group. It will also improve management of water and sanitation at the community level.

On signing the agreement, the EU’s Ambassador to the Pacific, Mr Andrew Jacobs highlighted the importance of effective partnerships to support local communities when pursuing development goals.

‘The European Union, SPC and Kiribati have forged a fruitful partnership over the years. This project is yet another example thereof. This project also reflects the EU's continued commitment to support the government of Kiribati and its people in their efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs], which are due for assessment in 2015,’ he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:18 Read more...
 

UN Women and SPC sign memorandum of understanding

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Wednesday 15 October 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) – Suva, Fiji: UN Women and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) commemorated International Day of Rural Women with an event that showcased stories from rural women themselves and culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Through the MoU, UN Women and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) – European Union (ACP-EU)-funded SPC implemented “Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Project” (BSRP) will work in collaboration to ensure the different needs, capacities, constraints and social roles of women and men are included in the design and implementation of the BSRP project activities. It is also aimed at strengthening the capacity of the 15 countries that the BSRP works in.

UN Women’s Deputy Representative for the Fiji Multi-Country Office, Nicolas Burniat, signed the MoU on behalf of UN Women and highlighted the importance of including women and girls to ensure the sustainability of climate change and disaster risk reduction strategies. The ACP-EU SPC BSRP project aims to reduce the vulnerability, as well as the social, economic and environmental costs, of disasters caused by natural hazards in the Pacific.

Inoke Ratukalou, Director of Lands Resources Division and Officer in Charge at SPC, says the MoU will play a big part in ensuring gender mainstreaming across the project’s activities.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:19 Read more...
 

Regional discussion on Pacific Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing to begin next week

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The annual Pacific Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS/RS) User Conference will be held from Tuesday 25 - 27 November, 2014 in Suva.

The Conference will be held at the Japan Pacific ICT Centre located at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Laucala Campus and will be opened by the Permanent Secretary of Lands, Mr Tevita Boseiwaqa and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division Director, Professor Michael Petterson.

The theme of the 2014 Conference is “Empowering Pacific Communities through Improved Geospatial Data” where more than 200 participants are expected to converge.

The three-day conference will include plenary presentations and technical sessions to address themes that include but are not limited to using GIS in forestry and landcover, coastal and marine, spatial open source data, disasters, geodetic infrastructure, utilities, and education with case studies from Pacific Island countries. The conference will also showcase the latest technology and applications on GIS presentations.

Dr Wolf Forstreuter, Head of SPC’s GIS/RS Unit commented that this is the only conference in the GIS & RS user community where Pacific Islanders have an opportunity to showcase their GIS & RS applications and meet representatives of spatial data resellers, software, hardware vendors, and scientific specialists. He added, ‘There are some regional conferences in Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia; however, the level of participation by representatives from the Pacific region is often limited at those meetings, as compared to the Suva conference.’

Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 11:56 Read more...
 

Snapshots 86: Disaster Reduction Programe: July - September 2014

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From The Manager's Desk

How time flies! We’re well into October and yet it seems that just yesterday we were coming out of the Pacific Platform for DRM in June. Strange but true. The rigours of the work schedule causes one to lose track of time. Next thing you know Christmas will be upon us and we’ll have to close the book on yet another year.

We’ve been part of some exciting initiatives over the course of the last few months and are happy to share some of them with you in this edition of Snapshots. Since the last edition in June, our team at the SPC Disaster Reduction Programme has increased further with the addition of 3 staff for the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment & Financing Initiative, Phase 3 project.

Amongst other activities, we’ve become the lead for a new programme of support for resilience building from the World Bank (more in future issues of Snapshots), have been progressing well in terms of the EU-funded Building Safety & Resilience in the Pacific project and helped to showcase the great work the region is doing on the integration of DRM and Climate Change at the SIDS conference held in September.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition. Stay tuned for more...just around the corner.

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Mosese Sikivou
Deputy Director
Disaster Reduction Programme

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:18
 

Fiji and Tuvalu sign maritime boundary agreement

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Wednesday 22 October 2014 – Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) – Suva, Fiji: Last Friday was an important occasion for the governments of Fiji and Tuvalu as a maritime boundary agreement was signed by the Prime Minister of Fiji, Honourable Voreqe Bainimarama, and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Honourable Enele Sopoaga. This signing event concluded many years of negotiations between senior government officials of both countries.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), through its Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (AGTD), assists member countries in the technical preparations of negotiations between neighbouring countries to legalise the extent of national areas of jurisdiction under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Regional Maritime Boundaries Unit within AGTD coordinates this support to member countries, working closely with its partners, which include the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, Geoscience Australia, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Programme GRID-Arendal Centre, the Australian Attorney General’s Office and the University of Sydney.

The Pacific Islands region has approximately 48 shared maritime boundaries, where neighbouring exclusive economic zones overlap. Counting the treaty signed between Fiji and Tuvalu last week, 33 of these boundaries are subject to a formal treaty.

During the signing ceremony, PM Bainimarama stated, 'As Pacific small island developing states, we have proven to the international community that we are no strangers to concluding highly technical and complex negotiations under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.'

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 November 2014 07:53 Read more...
 

Vanuatu Government seeks views of the people on deep sea mining

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Tuesday 14 October 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji: Last week in Port Vila, the Republic of Vanuatu commenced on a national consultation on a draft Deep Sea Minerals Policy. This is the first in a series of consultations to be held in every province.

Past studies in Vanuatu’s waters revealed the presence of seafloor massive sulphide deposits within its exclusive economic zone, which could contain significant quantities of copper, gold, zinc, silver and other commercially viable minerals. The presence of such minerals could present a potential economic opportunity for Vanuatu if deep sea mining activity is properly conducted and balanced with appropriate environmental, legal and financial management.

The draft Policy sets out Vanuatu’s vision and strategic goals in relation to its deep sea minerals, and will form the basis for future drafting of laws in line with the policy. The draft Policy has been prepared by the Ministry of Lands with advice from the Deep Sea Minerals (DSM) Project: a partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union (EU).

The DSM Project works to assist 15 Pacific Island countries to improve governance and management of their deep-sea mineral resources, including through the development of national policies and laws.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:29 Read more...
 
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2014 Pacific GIS/RS User Conference

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SOPAC In The News

The following random SOPAC-related news articles are aggregated from various online third-party sources; SOPAC is in no way responsible for the editorial content, opinions and validity of the articles.

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Should the Pacific Island nations celebrate World Water Day?
 

Newsflash

Kim Hagen

On 2 April, 2007 the Solomon Islands were hit by an 8.1 Magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The tsunami, in particular, wrought extensive damage amongst communities inhabiting the western part of the country, and was responsible for 50 of the 52 casualties. Ghizo Island was one of the islands hit the hardest. The Gilbertese ethnic minority living on Ghizo suffered from the disastrous impacts of the hazards; a disproportionally high number of Gilbertese people died and those who survived faced large difficulties in trying to cope with the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. One of the main findings of research carried out on Ghizo in 2011, 2012, and 2013 was that, as a result of learning from these experiences, the Gilbertese survivors made changes in their socio-cultural fabric to make themselves more resilient to future disasters.

This paper presents an account of how differences in ethnic communities’ responses to hazards faced shaped differences in their trajectories of recovery. To aid the understanding of the findings presented, the context of research and methodology used are briefly described below. It is followed by an account of the differences in responses between the Melanesian ethnic majority and the Gilbertese ethnic minority, and the implications these differences had for the longer-term socio-cultural recovery of the Gilbertese survivors. The final section presents the conclusion along with recommendations for research and developing effective disaster risk reduction strategies.

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