SPC Geoscience Division

Advancing Pacific Ocean data networks and applications

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Ocean science experts from the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) are among those convening in Noumea this week to build understanding of ocean processes, ocean observations and data applications, and advance the design of a Pacific Islands ocean observation network.

The Pacific Islands Training Workshop on Ocean Observations and Data Applications, being held at the IRD offices, will contribute to increasing the capability within the Pacific region to collect, analyse, and communicate oceanographic data across a number of sectors, such as meteorology and climate services, fisheries, marine trade and tourism.

The workshop is organised by the Joint World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) in coordination with IRD, SPC and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP).


Cyclone Winston survey sets new baseline for damage data

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1 April 2016, Suva

Coastal hazard experts from the Pacific Community (SPC) have surveyed wind and wave damage from tropical cyclone Winston in more than 40 communities across the provinces of Bua, Cakaudrove, and Lomaiviti in Fiji last week, producing detailed data that will have immediate and long-term benefits for Fiji and the region.

As part of SPC’s assistance to the Government of Fiji following the devastating category 5 cyclone, two teams of oceanographers and damage assessment specialists designed and carried out simultaneous surveys, covering roughly 250 km of coastline over five days.

Planned in collaboration with Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and Mineral Resource Department and with support from the World Bank, the surveys assessed building damage, the status of water and sanitation, and the extent of coastal inundation on the island of Ovalau and the southern coast of Vanua Levu.

Last Updated on Friday, 01 April 2016 11:49

‘Pacific Community’ name adopted

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1 February 2016, Noumea

Expect to see and hear a lot more about the Pacific Community.

This follows the decision that the ‘Secretariat of the Pacific Community’ should be known simply by its formal name, the ‘Pacific Community’.

“By adopting the ‘Pacific Community’ as our public name we’re essentially going back to the future, as this was the legal name chosen by our members back in 1997, replacing the ‘South Pacific Commission’ title,” the Pacific Community Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, said.

“Reverting to our organisation’s formal name reflects the Pacific Community’s inclusive mandate and broad Pacific region coverage, and promotes greater ownership by our 26 country and territory members, beyond the secretariat.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 February 2016 12:23

Australia and Pacific Islands cooperate to update maritime boundaries in world’s largest ocean

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4 December 2015, SydneyPacific Representatives of 12 Pacific Island countries are meeting in Sydney this week with maritime experts from Australia and the Pacific Community (SPC) to negotiate maritime boundary agreements and refine their claims to areas of continental shelf.

Pacific Island countries have limited land areas but vast space entitlements in the Pacific Ocean, leading Pacific leaders to coin the phrase “Large Ocean Island States”.

Delimiting maritime zones is an important process for countries to secure their rights over ocean space and marine resources, including fisheries and seabed minerals.

The hands-on workshop will enable the technical and legal teams from each country to work with a group of advisers from SPC, Geoscience Australia, the University of Sydney, the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, the Commonwealth Secretariat, GRID-Arendal and the Forum Fisheries Agency.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 December 2015 14:17

Coastal protection project opened in Ailinglaplap, Marshall Islands

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Sea wall

3 November 2015, Majuro

The President of the Republic of Marshall Islands, His Excellency Christopher Loeak, today officially opened the Coastal Causeway Project in Woja Island, Ailinglaplap, as part of the country's efforts to build resilience to climate change.

The project has involved constructing a rock causeway combined with soft engineering measures, such as tree planting, to strengthen the vulnerable and narrow road link between the two parts of Woja Island.

The project is part of the European Union-supported regional €11.4 million Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States initiative, implemented in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Government of the Republic of Marshall Islands.


EU will provide FJ$10 million through SPC towards recovery and rehabilitation after Cyclone Winston

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colin and eu

The European Union (EU) will provide an initial FJ$ 10 million through the Pacific Community (SPC) to complement the Fijian Government's efforts in relief, recovery and rehabilitation following the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

The funds will immediately be made available from EU-SPC projects for communities and businesses in the most severely affected regions of Fiji.

"The FJ$10M is a direct, practical short term response to the needs of Fijian citizens in the affected areas", says EU Ambassador for the Pacific Andrew Jacobs. "The EU and SPC have joined forces to identify other resources, whether it is through an existing joint programme or a new source that could be expedited and channelled towards re-building peoples' lives".

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 March 2016 14:33

Building Pacific capacities to promote and facilitate marine scientific research

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14 December 2015, Busan - Marine science and marine scientific research play a critical role in the sustainable development of the oceans, seas and their resources.

This is consistently recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in its annual resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea, the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and by the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway adopted in 2014.

Marine scientific research is also at the core of the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ and the Sustainable Development Goal 14a officially adopted by the General Assembly in September 2015.

To address this, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (DOALOS) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (IOC-UNESCO), in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC) European Union supported Deep Sea Minerals Project and the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI), recently organised a first of its kind training workshop for Pacific Small Island Developing States government officials and scientists in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015 17:25

Advancing the Pacific development agenda with smarter maps

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Suva, Fiji – Over 300 participants from about 30 countries will converge in Suva, Fiji next week to discuss advancements in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing (GIS/RS) applications and their relevance to the management of resources in small Pacific Island countries and territories.


Bridging Information Gaps by Creating Smarter Maps’ is the theme of the conference jointly organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2016 16:39

Strategic Roadmap for Emergency Management in Niue

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The Strategic Roadmap for Emergency Management (SREM) in Niue is the result of extensive consultations, research and a stakeholder workshop to look at contemporary best practi ce within the Australasian region with the view to reform the emergency management arrangements in Niue.

The SREM process allowed us, for the fi rst ti me, to sit down as group and discuss the issues that face us collecti vely as a sector rather than as individual agencies like police, fi re and government departments. Our own experiences with signifi cant events like cyclone Heta and other overseas incidents show us clearly that successful emergency management can only occur when everyone knows what to do and can work together as a single interoperable unit.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 December 2015 15:25

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The High Commissioner for Kiribati in Fiji, Ms Retata Nikuata-Rimon, yesterday thanked the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) for assisting her atoll nation with its maritime boundaries, hydrographic nautical charts and deep-sea mining.

On the latter, she said it was an area ‘in which there is growing interest as it offers potential for social and economic development, although we must be cautious about the environmental impact’.

Ms Nikuata-Rimon made these comments at the 42nd Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA) meeting, which is being held at the SPC headquarters in Noumea from 12 to 16 November.

CRGA is a committee of SPC’s governing body, the Conference of the Pacific Community, which meets every two years.

Earlier this year, at the Forum Leaders’ meeting in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, seven Pacific Island countries and territories (Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Marshall Islands, Tokelau and Tuvalu,) signed and exchanged a total of eight maritime boundary agreements.

In addition, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Nauru signed a trilateral treaty on the ‘Tri-Junction Point’, a point where the exclusive economic zones of all three countries intersect.

SPC’s Applied Geoscience and Technology Division supported the countries in the determination of the agreed boundaries, working collaboratively with members and with support from SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division and the Forum Fisheries Agency.

Agreement on boundaries has taken many years of work, often involving sensitive negotiations between members. The signing of these treaties has brought to just under 30 the total number of treaties concluded out of a total of 48 boundaries.