Speech by Dr. Russell Howorth, Ground Breaking Ceremony, National Emergency Operation Centre, FSM
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 February 2012 16:00
President, National Authorising Officer, Director -Office of Environment and Emergency Management, Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, I extend a warm welcome to all who are here, to witness this occasion. This ground breaking ceremony will mark the commencement of construction of the new national Emergency Operation Centre. While it has taken some time to reach this stage, we are happy to see that work is about to start, and I would like to thank Andrew Yatilman and his team from the Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM) for coordinating implementation of the Disaster Risk Reduction project, also known as the B-Envelope project, particularly Tony Neth, who has been directly involved. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the European Union who fund the B-Envelope project, where the sum of €1.5 million is allocated towards disaster management, including the construction of this building.
My affiliation with this project goes back a number of years. In March 2007, I visited Pohnpei as a consultant, to develop FSM’s Country Implementation Plan for this project. It is therefore a very special occasion, to be back here again, to bear witness and officiate in this ceremony, to implement this Plan.
Deep Seabed Minerals Licence for Nauru
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 February 2012 16:50
With the International Seabed Authority (ISA) granting Nauru Ocean Resources Incorporation (NORI), a Nauru registered exploration company, the right to explore for deep seabed minerals in the International Seabed Area (known as “the Area”), the country becomes the first Pacific Island nation to have secured such a licence.
With limited seabed mineral resources inside its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the licence gives NORI the right to explore an area beneath international waters, at estimated depths of 5000 metres.
NORI is owned by two Nauru foundations; the Nauru Health and Environment Foundation and the Nauru Education and Training Foundation. As a part of the licence application process, the ISA subjected the company to a rigorous screening of its history, financials and work practises.
ISA cites good progress at seabed mineral workshop
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 14:08
Secretary General of the International Seabed Authority, Mr Nii Allotey Odunton, said that the ISA had been “honoured and delighted,” to hold an International Workshop, in collaboration with the SPC/SOPAC Division of the Pacific Community and the Government of Fiji, on issues relating to the environmental impact assessment of deep seabed mining.
Mr Odunton’s comments, part of his address to the United Nations General Assembly, December 2011, referred to good progress made at the International Workshop in identifying the issues that will need to be addressed in future environmental impact assessments, “including the establishing of a framework so that all stakeholders are aware of what is expected of them.”
During the workshop in Fiji, an integral part of the four-year, EU-funded Deep Seabed Minerals Project, Mr Odunton said that more information about the different species living on the deep seabed is needed.
Kiribati prioritizes protection in deep seabed minerals process
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:11
With fisheries as Kiribati’s main economic resource for a growing population, there is an imperative to find other income sources.
“This is where seabed mineral exploration and mining is important,” said Mr Tearinaki Tanielu, a Geologist, working as the Minerals Officer for the Kiribati Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development.
“As a nation we are working toward adding more prosperity for people to make their lives better, but at the same time with little or no impact on our environment.”
He said that on a global level, seabed systems are not fully understood, and that there are policy and knowledge gaps that need to be addressed, adding greater complexity to the whole issue, and that it would be necessary for Kiribati to first develop technical and scientific knowledge and the appropriate policies so that the country has the capacity to undertake deep seabed mineral exploration and exploitation.
Ground Breaking ceremony for construction of National Emergency Operation Center in the FSM
Last Updated on Monday, 20 February 2012 08:40
President Manny Mori and Dr. Russell Howorth, director of the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, officiated in the ground breaking ceremony on February 17, marking the commencement of construction of the new national Emergency Operation Center at Palikir, National Capital in the Federated States of Micronesia.
The new Emergency Operation Center is to be constructed by APSCO construction at a cost of about $220,000 which will assist the FSM Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM) in disaster preparedness and coordination. This project is funded by the European Union through the Disaster Risk Reduction project implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
Mapping Fiji’s Forest Cover with the help of Satellite Imagery
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 14:09
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has embarked on a programme to build capacity in mapping land/forest cover in Fiji using very high resolution satellite images. The programme has three phases consisting of both theory and practical work, including ‘ground truthing’ (on-site verification of data from satellite imagery) exercises to be held later this month.
The training, which is jointly organised by SPC’s Land Resources Division (LRD) and its Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) Division, involves participants from the Fiji Department of Forestry and SPC.
The ground truthing exercise will be undertaken in Drawa – a model area for sustainable natural resource management located in Vanua Levu that covers about 6,400 hectares of indigenous forest.
The first phase of the training exercise focuses on enhancing and analysing satellite images of Drawa forest to classify it into different forest types and using the information to conduct forest inventory for the estimation of forest carbon stock per unit area of each forest type.
Independent external review of SPC
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2012 11:10
Over the next three months, a seven-member team will conduct an independent external review of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
The review, beginning the first week of February, will consider SPC in the context of its broader role in regional development. The team will examine SPC’s focus, governance, management, mode of delivery, financing and performance monitoring and make recommendations on the organisation’s core business; governance, decision-making and membership; organisational structure; strategic planning; priority setting; business practices; financial management; resources; and performance monitoring and assessment.
When it approved the terms of reference for the review at the 7th Conference of the Pacific Community held in November last year, SPC’s governing body noted the timeliness of the exercise in light of the recent integration of SOPAC (Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission) and SPBEA (Secretariat of the Pacific Board for Educational Assessment) into SPC.
SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers said, "This will be an organisation-wide review that is independent of SPC. It will consider SPC’s core business and other important issues such as general governance and organisational efficiency."
Different responses required for different seabed minerals operations
Last Updated on Monday, 23 January 2012 10:44
Concerns about protecting the environment during exploration and mining for deep seabed minerals will not be addressed by a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
Dr Malcolm Clark, Principal Scientist (Deepwater Fisheries) at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) Wellington, New Zealand, expressed this opinion during the international workshop on Environmental Management Needs for Exploration and Exploitation of Deep Seabed Minerals.
The workshop, jointly organised by SOPAC a division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the International Seabed Authority, took place in Nadi, Fiji, during December 2011, as a part of the European Union funded, four-year Deep Seabed Minerals Project.
Dr Clark said that the more we learn about the deep sea the more we realise that parts of it are split up into smaller environmental packages, and we don’t have a good understanding of how large these package-like “ecosystems” are, or the degree of connectivity between them.
There are three types of deep seabed deposits that are being considered as potential resources to be mined: massive sulfide deposits cobalt crusts, and manganese nodules.