SPC Geoscience Division

SOPAC attends the PWWA Workshop

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The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) attended the Pacific Water and Wastes Association (PWWA) workshop on benchmarking and matchmaking on the 6th and 7th of July 2010. The workshop was co-facilitated and co-funded by PWWA and UN-HABITAT.

As part of the Global Water Partnerships Alliance, UN-HABITAT are proposing to establish a Water Operators Partnership (WOP) in the Pacific, with PWWA as the facilitators.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 11:30

Press Statement - Island Vulnerability

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In response to the recent negative press, particularly from the media outside of the Pacific islands, regarding the vulnerability of our islands to climate change and sea-level rise, the Director of the SOPAC Secretariat, Dr. Russell Howorth, convened a press conference to correct this misconception.

Specifically, these media (and others) have made reference to a recently published article in an international scientific journal co-authored by a senior staff member of the SOPAC Secretariat. Copies of the brief prepared by the senior staff member by way of a response were circulated. The response emphasises that the article addresses the ongoing change in shape, size, and position on the reef platform of 27 low-lying coral islands on four atolls over the past 19-61 years based upon studies of historic air photographs and recent high-resolution satellite imagery. In no way does it make sweeping conclusions that the vulnerability of our islands is reducing particularly with regard to predictions about future impacts of sea-level change.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 January 2011 07:10

Announcement - Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management 2010

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The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) wishes to announce the Pacific Platform for DRM from 9th – 13th August, 2010. This years Pacific Platform for DRM is jointly organised by the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), the Pacific Sub Regional Office of the Secretariat for the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the United Nation Development Programme Pacific Centre (UNDP PC), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), The Asia Foundation/USAID/Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (TAF/OFDA), the International Federation for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as well as the European Union (EU) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) as members of the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 June 2010 11:18

Footprints - Newsletter of the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network

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Bula Vinaka and Welcome to Footprints – the official newsletter of the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network. Since reintroducing the newsletter in the last quarter of 2007, we have ‘reinvented’ the publication in an effort to be more reader-friendly in 2010. The changes include a new layout. The title reflects the collective ‘steps’ taken by the partners, working with Pacific island country representatives, toward achieving the desired outcomes of the Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action 2005-2015.In taking each step we leave behind ‘footprints’ as a record of where we have been, what we have done and what we have accomplished. I invite all partners to contribute regularly to Footprints.

Mosese Sikivou
Programme Manager - Community Risk
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 June 2010 12:09

Pacific Resource and Environmental Economics Network Gets New Logo May 2010

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The recently established PREEN (Pacific Resource and Environmental Economics Network) unveiled its logo today at a prize giving ceremony hosted by the IUCN in Suva. The logo depicts land, sea, fish, turtles and mangroves. Also included in the logo is a scene of traditional fishers at work.


Last Updated on Sunday, 27 June 2010 15:55

SOPAC conducts water scoping mission in Pitcairn Island

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SOPAC undertook a scoping mission to Pitcairn Island from the 30 May to 10 June 2010. The main purpose of this mission was to undertake assessments of water in order to address water security on the island as long term droughts are known to affect the 48-person strong population.

In the past, droughts have restricted domestic water supply which is mainly supplied by water tanks (water harvesting) and water available for irrigating crops (mostly from springs). Recently the only borehole and water springs on the island had dried up. This led to the request for solutions to improve their water supply and sanitation on the island.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 17:13

Strengthening Disaster Information Management Systems

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On Friday 18th June the SOPAC Director Dr Russell Howorth handed over 8 desktops, 8 laptops, a photocopy machine, Printer and Server to the Permanent Secretary for Provincial Development, Multi Ethnic Affairs, National Disaster Management and Sugar Mr Manasa Vaniqi in support of disaster information management in Fiji.

Present at the handover were the Commissioners for the four divisions: Central, Eastern, Northern and Western. Each division will be allocated a desktop and a laptop for use in their respective Divisional Emergency Operation Centres. A Memorandum of Agreement was also signed at the handover outlining the roles and responsibilities of SOPAC and the Ministry in support of the initiative "Strengthening Disaster Information Management Systems".

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 June 2010 14:46

Snapshots 58: Community Risk Programme May 2010 Updates

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Welcome to the May 2010 issue of Snapshots. This month we highlight some of the progress that we’ve made in relation to DRM mainstreaming particularly through our efforts in Papua New Guinea.
This issue will also highlight: steps being undertaken to improve water security in Nauru; the re-establishment of the Disaster Risk Management Training Advisory Committee in Fiji; the on going
discussions with the World Bank on a Pacific Catastrophe Risk Financing Initiative;
the 10th meeting of the World Bank’s GFDRR Results Management Council; the training undertaken by the Pacific DRM Training Programme of The Asia Foundation/US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and; the on-going development of a regional exposure database jointly being implemented by SOPAC, ADB, World Bank, AIR Worldwide, GNS Science New Zealand and the Pacific Disaster Center in Hawaii. Enjoy!

Mosese Sikivou
Programme Manager - Community Risk

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 June 2010 13:52

Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Mainstreaming in Papua New Guinea

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The second country engagement to establish a DRM Mainstreaming for PNG took place on the 3rd-14th May 2010 with representatives from SOPAC, UNDP Pacific Centre and UNDP PNG. This was a follow up mission to the first country engagement in February this year. The intention of the first mission was to scope out a process for the development and implementation of a DRM National Action Plan.

However, in the initial stages of the mission, stakeholders dispelled the prospects for the development of a comprehensive national approach to mainstreaming as would normally be undertaken through the mainstreaming exercise. The geography and population of PNG make the concept of DRM mainstreaming difficult. The need to strengthen DRM in PNG is heightened by the fact that nearly 25% of the natural disasters occurring in the Pacific between 1950-2008 were in PNG (EM-DAT1).
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 June 2010 12:50

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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.