SOPAC - Applied Geoscience and Technology Division - SPC

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SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND RESOURCES NETWORK (STAR)

STAR (SOPAC's Science, Technology and Resources Network) was founded in 1985 in collaboration with UNESCO/IOC. The first Chairman of STAR, Dr Charles Helsley, then Director of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, chaired STAR until 1992 when Professor Keith Crook took over . Dr John Collen was elected Chair when Keith Crook retired at the end of 1999. STAR was formed as a vehicle to assist the international research community to provide advice to SOPAC, particularly during the intervals between SOPAC International Workshops, the most recent of which was a Conference on ENSO effects in Nadi in 1999

STAR sessions are not merely technical meetings at which individuals present scientific papers and discuss results and implications. Participants have the additional responsibility of formulating advice to SOPAC concerning its Work Programme and of highlighting technical and scientific issues of particular importance or urgency. This advice, in the form of reports and recommendations from STAR Working Groups, and rapporteurs reports on highlights of STAR technical presentations, is tendered during Technical Advisory Group sessions in the Annual Session, and all STAR participants are invited and urged to participate in this phase of the meeting.

One of the great strengths of SOPAC is its ability to mobilize excellent science and bring it to bear so as to address the national needs of SOPAC's island member countries. The long-established working relationship between SOPAC and the international research community is a vital element in this endeavour, and one which STAR is charged to nurture. This relationship stimulated a major change in the geoscience database in the SOPAC region during the 1980's.

Initially STAR was primarily concerned with "blue-water" marine geoscience, tectonics and resources. However, in response to island countries changing needs and priorities STAR has expanded its scope to cover several other technical fields, so as to ensure that the relationship between SOPAC and the scientific community remains a relevant and working one. These are covered in SOPAC's Work Programme and its new Corporate Plan, which all participants should examine. STAR actively seeks a broad spectrum of participation to ensure that SOPAC's Work Programme and its forward planning are influenced by international science and technology that is both excellent and relevant. SOPAC's track record demonstrates that this approach is synergistic, forwarding both national needs and fundamental research.

A significant part of STAR's input comes through Working Groups, several of which will meet during the SOPAC Annual Session. Current STAR Working Groups which met at the 2007 and/or 2008 STAR Sessions are: Energy; Marine Benthic Habitats; Water and GIS and Remote Sensing.

John Collen,Chair, STAR
Joe Buleka, Vice-Chair, STAR

Last Updated on Friday, 15 October 2010 08:36  

Newsflash

Water and sanitation are among the key challenges facing the Pacific Island region and will be a focus for discussion at the upcoming Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa, 1‒4 September.

According to Mike Petterson, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division, all Pacific SIDS have made some progress in water and sanitation but not enough.

‘Many of these efforts are not keeping up with population growth, meaning the region as a whole is actually going backwards compared to the rest of the world,’ said Professor Petterson. ‘SPC is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF to assess progress against the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) targets for water supply and sanitation. For the region as a whole the findings aren’t good.’

UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist, Marc Overmars, said the MDGs aim to halve the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation and safe drinking water by 2015.  ‘The data we’ve collected with WHO suggest that for the Pacific as a whole, progress towards these targets has been poor compared to neighbouring regions and the world,’ he said.