SPC Geoscience Division


Geoscience for Development

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.

Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical agency supporting development in the Pacific, proudly owned and governed by its 26 members including all 22 Pacific Island countries and territories.


Pacific Community recognised for geospatial innovation in disaster management

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Excellence Award


19 October 2016, Kuala Lumpur

The Pacific Community (SPC) has been bestowed the Asia Geospatial Excellence Award this week (17 October) by GeoSmart Asia for the application of geospatial technology in Disaster Management.

Accepting the award on behalf of the organisation at the GeoSmart Asia Conference in Kuala Lumpur, SPC Geoscience Division Director, Prof. Mike Petterson reiterated the importance of geospatial data and technologies to empower Pacific communities and decision makers in improving resilience to disaster and risk in the Pacific region.

Small Island Developing States in the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural hazards due to their small land area in a region of ocean, and the presence of geotectonic environments that produce earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and landslides. Meteorological and oceanic hazards such as cyclones, floods, and sea inundation in times of storm and high tide are ever present.

Recent disasters including Cyclones Winston and Pam in Fiji and Vanuatu, floods in Honiara and tsunamis in Samoa, and west and east Solomon Islands caused loss of life and homes and significant costs to national economies.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 October 2016 11:57

Regional partnerships to strengthen disaster risk management in the Pacific

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19 October 2016, Suva

Reducing the negative impacts of disasters on the people of the Pacific is at the core of this year’s Pacific Resilience Week beginning in Suva, Fiji, today.

Disaster managers from 15 Pacific Island countries, disaster risk reduction experts and humanitarian response partners are coming together to help create a more disaster-resilient Pacific. They aim to strengthen national and regional collaboration on disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery from disaster.

The first three days (19-21 October) will focus on humanitarian preparedness and response. The Pacific Humanitarian Partnership meeting, convened by the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), is focusing on  lessons learnt and way forward from previous disasters, as well as how to make the outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit count in the Pacific.

“The region has witnessed some of the largest recorded cyclones in history in the last 18 months with many in Fiji still reeling from the impact of Cyclone Winston.  The increased frequency of disasters and impact of climate change makes the need for effective long-term partnerships that work from disaster mitigation to preparedness, response and recovery critical and this joint event helps ensure we do that meaningfully,” Sune Gudnitz, Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Regional Office for the Pacific (UNOCHA ROP) said.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 October 2016 10:54

PacSAFE Project

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The PacSAFE project is a response to demand from Pacific Island Countries for tools to better understand disaster impacts. The project will engage with representatives from national disaster management offices and related agencies who are involved in planning, preparing and responding to natural disasters. Geoscience Australia, as Australia’s technical implementing partner, will continue development of the functionality of the PacSAFE software tool. PacSAFE is a desktop tool based on QGIS and InaSAFE, designed and developed for non‑GIS users.

Geoscience Australia, as Australia’s technical implementing partner, will continue development of the functionality of the PacSAFE software tool. PacSAFE is a desktop tool based on QGIS and InaSAFE, designed and developed for non‑GIS users. PacSAFE1 was initially developed by the Pacific Community for urban planners to enable hazard data and asset data, such as the Pacific Catastrophic Risk and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) asset database. In the current project, the PacSAFE tool will be enabled to produce realistic disaster impact scenarios by combining spatial hazard with exposure data. It will provide a simple tool for users to interrogate hazard and impact scenarios within the context of the local knowledge of their communities. This will support users in making informed decisions for disaster response and to develop evidence-based policies for enhancing disaster resilience

Last Updated on Friday, 30 September 2016 14:52

PNG Geothermal Energy Potential

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Source: EMTV Online

Hydro-power at present makes up 40 percent of Papua New Guinea’s installed power capacity, due to the optimal conditions and terrains for hydro-power plants.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 September 2016 10:47

Solar initiative contributes to Cyclone Winston recovery

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19 October 2016, Suva

The Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union (EU) have commissioned the installation of 400 solar photovoltaic home systems to help affected communities in Fiji recover from tropical cyclone Winston.

The FJ$10 million EU-funded Fiji Micro Projects Programme (MPP) was redesigned in May 2016 to provide medium to long term response measures following a visit to cyclone-devastated areas by the EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E. Andrew Jacobs, and the Pacific Community Director-General, Colin Tukuitonga.

Rural electrification, specifically improved access to affordable electricity, and increased income generating opportunities is one of two key result areas of the project.

The second focus area involves better access to safe and disaster-resilient water supply, sanitation and hygiene facilities and practices.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 October 2016 11:58

Vanuatu and Solomon Islands to conclude historic maritime boundary treaty

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7 October 2016, Port Vila

The Pacific Community (SPC) is welcoming the conclusion of 33 years of negotiations between Vanuatu and Solomon Islands with the signing of a Maritime Boundary Agreement between the countries.


A signing ceremony involving the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, the Hon Manasseh Sogavare, and the Prime Minister for Vanuatu, the Hon Charlot Salawai, is expected to take place in northern Vanuatu today.


Vanuatu government officials said the landmark agreement will provide legal and jurisdictional certainty for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu for better management of the ocean, while at the same time allowing the two nations’ cultural and historical linkages to remain solid.


In congratulating both governments, the Director of SPC’s Geoscience Division, Professor Michael Petterson, said it was also a special and rewarding occasion for SPC staff who had supported the complex negotiations over many years.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2016 14:39

New Framework to build resilience to climate change and disasters in the Pacific Islands

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16 September 2016, Suva - Pacific Leaders’ endorsement of the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP), the world’s first integrated regional framework to build resilience to climate change and disasters, has been applauded by Pacific regional and international organisations.

The Framework aims to ensure that climate change and disasters are understood as a development challenge with priority actions to address vulnerability to climate change and disasters and build resilience across all sectors.

The FRDP provides high level voluntary guidance to national governments and administrations, the private sector, civil society organisations, Pacific communities, regional organisations, and development partners.

Last Updated on Monday, 19 September 2016 10:54

‘Time is right’ to boost capacity in Pacific ocean forecasting

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5 September 2016, Nadi

Weather forecasters, hydrographers, oceanographers, fisheries officers and maritime safety experts from around the Pacific region have gathered in Nadi, Fiji, today to take part in training to boost understanding, monitoring and forecasting of oceans and tides.

First Secretary of the Australian High Commission in Suva, Raymond Bojczuk opened the training, which is jointly organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology under the Climate and Oceans Support Programme in the Pacific (COSPPac).

“The timing is right to boost regional capacity to monitor and forecast ocean conditions,” Mr Bojczuk noted, recognising the severe wave damage many coastal communities in Fiji experienced during Tropical Cyclone Winston and the numerous inundation events that have threatened low-lying atolls across the region in recent years.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 September 2016 14:54
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12-23 July 2010

I would like to begin by acknowledging the Government of Germany for providing the resources for this Pacific regional training course co-hosted by the Government of Fiji and GFZ1 Potsdam1. SOPAC is happy to have been invited to assist with the logistical arrangements including the travel for the regional participants. I would also like to acknowledge other partners including Geoscience Australia, the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences of New Zealand, and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, in Noumea.

SOPAC’s work in the region in cooperation with Germany goes back many years indeed almost to the origin of CCOP/SOPAC in 1972. Marine geophysical cruise surveys utilizing the RV Sonne are well documented throughout SOPAC history. Regrettably, this direct assistance from Germany has waned. I am hopeful that this training course will re-invigorate those historic ties.