SPC Geoscience Division

Easier access to SOPAC's geographical data for scientists

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“Scientists from round the Pacific now have easier access to the Geographical information stored at Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC), Secretariat of the Pacific Community,” said Mr Sachindra Singh, Systems Developer, SOPAC Information Communications Technology (ICT) Department.

“Since August last year, the ICT Department has worked to unify and catalogue SOPAC's diverse geographical data collection under a standardised, secure and user-friendly system.”

Mr. Singh explained that this undertaking solely utilised Open Source Software (OSS) geospatial systems, which enabled the Division to cost-effectively develop the online solution in a relatively short amount of time.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 February 2011 16:36

SPC and New Caledonia sign Pacific OCT Agreements

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Wednesday 16th February, 2011, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Nouméa, New Caledonia. The Government of New Caledonia and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community have signed three agreements today to fund interventions to reduce public health risks resulting from contaminated drinking water, inadequate sanitation and drought.

In welcoming this signature, SPC Deputy Director-General Richard Mann noted the ‘importance of these agreements to the ongoing development of the country’ and their focus on ‘addressing priorities set by New Caledonia.’

The agreements worth € 1.55 million in total will support New Caledonia in the areas of water safety planning, sanitation, and integrated water resource management. These initiatives fall under a larger regional project aimed at reducing disaster risk in Pacific Overseas Countries and Territories thereby benefiting New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna and Pitcairn Islands.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 16:55

New bus drives home water message

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The Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) message has gone mobile in Fiji with the launch of a bus with the message ‘Water is Everybody’s Business’ running down the length of one side.

The 10 by 2 metre image depicts activities being carried out by a Global Environment Facility (GEF) sponsored IWRM demonstration project in the Nadi Basin and aims to raise awareness of the need for an integrated approach to improve water management and reduce risks from flooding.

Vinesh Kumar, Demonstration Project Manager, said that the bus launch was the start of a wider awareness campaign on how people from different sectors and backgrounds need to work together to improve water management and reduce the risks from flooding.

“Water doesn’t belong to one person or one sector. As it flows from mountain ridges to the reef it affects and is affected by many stakeholders,” Mr Kumar said. “Whether they are foresters cutting trees high in the catchment, farmers using water for agriculture, or communities and the tourism industry using water for drinking and recreation, everybody needs to play a part in improving the way we manage our water.”

Last Updated on Friday, 04 February 2011 15:15

Vanuatu makes progress with disaster risk management

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Mr Benjamin Shing, Director of Vanuatu’s Department of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) said he had been “impressed and surprised” by the presentation made by SOPAC at the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting, held in the Cook Islands in October 2009.

He said that this presentation on the Economic Impact of Disasters had shown him “…how deep the impacts of a disaster can be felt in the small island economies of the Pacific.”


Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 16:56

PREEN Newsletter - Issue 03, January 2011

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With its growing membership, we feel that the Pacific Resource and Environmental Economics Network (PREEN) has the potential to do great things in the region in terms of furthering understanding and communication of Environmental and Resource Economics news, events, research and publications.

It is with great pleasure that we present to you the 3rd edition of the PREEN Newsletter. There has been much Resource and Environmental Economics (REE) activity in the Pacific in the past six months and we would like to share some of the highlights with you.

We hope you will enjoy our selection of Pacific Resource and Environmental Economics news and articles.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 13:53

Climate change challenge to youth

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"What are your plans to assist yourself, your family, friends, community and country address the climate change challenge?”, Dr Russell Howorth, Director of SPC Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC), issued the challenge to the more than 40 international youth delegates from the 23rd Ship of World Youth Programme who attended a special presentation by SOPAC scientists on their work within the region on climate change.

The presentation was held at SOPAC headquarters in Suva. Dr. Howorth said that climate change has gained pre-eminence in the debate on development at all levels, national, regional and global. “The ocean is often referred to as the engine room of the global climate,” said Dr Howorth. "It occupies nearly three quarters (75%) of the earth’s surface and stores most of the incoming energy from the Sun. Not only is the Pacific Ocean the largest physical feature on Earth, here in the SOPAC region over 95% of the environment is the Pacific Ocean."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 16:55

Snapshots #65 Disaster Reduction Programe, January 2011

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From the Managers Desk

We’re back! The Disaster Reduction Programme of the Applied Geoscience & Technology Division (new name for SOPAC) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community opened its doors for business on 4th January 2011. We’re busy…already!

A famous English proverb says: “Act only today for tomorrow is too late”. This couldn’t more appropriately capture the sense of urgency that permeates the air.

Over the course of 2011 we hope to be able to make progress in relation to Disaster Risk Managament (DRM) National Action Plans or Mainstreaming programmes in all 14 Pacific ACP states. We also gear up for the 2011 sessions of the Pacific Platform for DRM and the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and are also excited by the prospect of completing the regional and national risk exposure databases; an initiative that commenced two years ago and that we have been working on with partners such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences New Zealand, Pacific Disaster Center and AIR Worldwide.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 February 2011 07:41

PNG grants first seabed mining licence

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"Rousing times are ahead in the mining and petroleum industry when the PNG Government created history by granting the first world deep sea mining lease to Nautilus Minerals Inc of Canada for the development of its Solwara 1 project in the Bismarck Sea."1

Go to the following link1 to read the full Papua New Guinea Post Courier 12th January article advising of the world's first mining lease for seabed mining.

"This marks an historic moment for nonliving resources development in the Pacific islands region", commented Dr. Russell Howorth, Director for Applied Geoscience and Technology Divison, SPC.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 16:56

Safe drinking water a priority in the Pacific

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For the first time in the Pacific a coordinated safe drinking water initiative has been introduced that could result in reducing typhoid, cholera, and related water borne diseases.

Eight countries are participating in developing and implementing Drinking Water Safety Plans (DWSP), introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “clear, simple risk assessment and risk management process that addresses the many challenges faced in providing safe drinking water,” said Mr. Tasleem Hasan, Water Services Coordinator, SOPAC.

AusAID provided initial funding to introduce DWSP in the Pacific. Those participating are Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Palau, Vanuatu, Fiji, Niue, Tonga, and Samoa.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 16:57

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Press Release: Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, Cook Islands, 23 July 2010

The Hon. Robert Wigmore, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for seabed mining activities has today announced concrete steps aimed at progressing seabed mining in the Cook Islands.

“The Government is totally committed to the development of our rich seabed mineral resources for the benefit of the present and future generations of Cook Islanders,” stressed the Deputy Prime Minister.  “To do that we must ensure that in the pioneering field of seabed mining we have in place sound developmental policies to guide seabed mining activities and regulations in force that will enable us to control and protect the wealth that belongs to the people of the Cook Islands as well as our marine environment before any exploratory or other mining activities begin.  It must be the Government and people of the Cook Islands that have control over seabed mining, not outside interests.”