SOPAC - Applied Geoscience and Technology Division - SPC

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Bonriki Indundation Vulnerability Assessment (BIVA)

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Bonriki is the largest of many islets in the pacific atoll of Tarawa, the capital of the Republic of Kiribati. Because of the islet's size and geology, it is the location of Tarawa's only international airport as well as the underground reservoir that supplies South Tarawa with the majority of its fresh water. Both of these critical infrastructural resources are potentially threatened by the predicted sea level rise in the region associated with climate change.

The Australian-funded Bonriki Inundation Vulnerability Assessment (BIVA) will provide the Kiribati government and development partners with a better understanding of the short and long term risks as well as a strategy for protecting these resources. The project has been supported by the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program (PACCSAPP) and will develop a 3D model of the island's freshwater lens.

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Physical Oceanographer
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 15:15  

Newsflash

Dr. Russell Howorth has been elected Chairman of the Legal and Technical Commission of the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

With the election of Dr. Howorth, the Pacific continues to play a prominent role at ISA; its President, Peter Thomson, is Fiji’s permanent representative to the United Nations, while ISA’s first Secretary General, Satya Nand, is a former Fiji Ambassador.  Dr. Howorth is the Director of SOPAC, a division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

ISA was established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and currently has 162 member states. It is an autonomous international organization, to which state parties to the Convention are given the responsibility of organising, controlling and administering the resources of the international seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

In his capacity as chairman of the Legal and Technical Commission, Dr. Howorth presides over a 25-member council that is entrusted with functions relating to activities in the international seabed.

Included in these are the review of applications for plans of work, supervision of exploration or mining activities and the assessment of the environmental impact of such activities.

The Commission also provides advice to the International Seabed Authority’s Assembly and Council on all matters relating to exploration and exploitation of non-living marine resources (such as polymetallic [manganese] nodules, polymetallic (sulphides and cobalt crusts).

While Dr. Howorth’s term on the Legal and Technical Commission is for five years, his chairmanship is for the coming year.