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Pacific commits to greater collaboration in improving the science of floods and drought

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Pacific commits to greater collaboration

18 Aug 2017 | Honiara

Regional collaboration is essential to managing the impacts of droughts and floods across the Pacific.

This was the finding of the Fourth Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC-4) this week, as it took a step towards the better management of floods and droughts through the establishment of a regional expert panel on hydrology.

Hydrology is the branch of science concerned with the behaviour and movement of the earth’s fresh water, and an understanding of hydrological processes is essential in managing the droughts and floods that regularly impact on the health and livelihoods of Pacific communities.

Meeting at PMC-4 in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Directors of Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological Services considered a paper on the issue, jointly prepared by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP), and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Addressing the Council meeting, SPREP’s Espen Ronneberg and SPC’s Peter Sinclair outlined the challenges in maintaining effective hydrological services across the Pacific, and the benefits of a collaborative approach through the establishment of a dedicated hydrology panel under the framework of the PMC.

“While support for hydrological services continues to be provided to Pacific Island Countries and Territories through a range of national, regional and international programmes, more sustained support is needed,” Mr Ronneberg said.

Mr Sinclair noted the strong linkages that exist between hydrology and meteorology, and the benefits to improving coordination and collaboration between the sectors.  “Closer collaboration between hydrologists and meteorologists is needed to support the Pacific’s efforts in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” he said.  “This collaboration is particularly important for the development of better warning and management systems for floods and drought.”

Mulipola Tainau Ausetalia Titimaea, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Meteorology Division of Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, welcomed the PMC’s endorsement of the expert panel.  “Apart from providing advice and guidance to the PMC, the panel is needed to assist with the development and new programmes and initiatives to support the capacity needs of hydrological services in the Pacific,” he said.

This collaborative approach to addressing the capacity needs of Pacific Island Countries and Territories follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on 27 July between SPC and SPREP, aimed to further strengthen collaboration efforts for the resilient and sustainable development of the Pacific region.

The Fourth Pacific Meteorological Council is being held in Honiara, Solomon Islands from the 14 – 17 August co-hosted by the government of Solomon Islands, Government of Australia through the Climate and Oceans Support Programme (COSPPac) and Pacific Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Programme (PACCSAP), Government of Finland, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), SPREP, WMO and United Nations Development Programme through the Resilience in the Pacific (SIDS) project.

This is being followed by the Second Pacific Meteorological Ministers Meeting on the 18 of August.

Media contacts:


Dave Hebblethwaite, Water Security and Governance Coordinator,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +679 9983059


Peter Sinclair, Water Resources Monitoring and Assessment Coordinator,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +679 9922113


Azarel M Maiai, COSPPac Capacity Development Officer SPREP,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +685 21929 ext 300

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 September 2017 10:38  

Newsflash

1st August 2014 – Secretariat of the Pacific Community – Koror, Palau: This morning, delegates to the 45th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Palau witnessed the signing of a maritime boundary treaty between the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the United States of America (USA) to delimit the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) between the two countries. Signing the treaty on behalf of FSM was Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert; the United States of America was represented by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dennise Mathieu.

The agreement, which has taken one and a half years to formulate, provides definitive legal status to the boundaries between the overlapping EEZs of FSM and the US Territory of Guam in the North Pacific Ocean.

This agreement underscores the importance of clearly establishing national areas of jurisdiction and limits under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which provides the foundation for improved governance, protection, conservation and management of national ocean resources.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community, through its Applied Geoscience and Technology Division, assists member countries in this process in close coordination with a large consortium of partners who combine resources to deliver comprehensive service and expertise, including the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, Geoscience Australia, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) GRID-Arendal centre, Australian Attorney General’s Office, and the University of Sydney.

The Pacific Islands region has approximately 48 shared maritime boundaries where neighbouring EEZs overlap. With the addition of this signed treaty, 32 of these boundaries are formalised and subject to treaty.