SPC Geoscience Division

Video: Tracking Tuvalu Tides

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The nation of Tuvalu is made up of nine low-lying islands scattered across the surface of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  These islands are home to over 11 thousand people and for them, the sea is a major source of food.  However, the ebb and flow of the tides has also brought change to these islands.

The sea level monitoring station in Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu, is one of 13 located throughout the Pacific region and undergoing maintenance. For the past 20 years it has been collecting and analysing vital data in tracking Tuvalu tides.  These monitoring stations help to better predict and prepare for the extreme high tide which, in turn helps prevent great loss to personal property.  Other vital services also depend on this important information e.g. infrastructure, large buildings etc.

The monitoring stations are part of the Australian Government- funded Pacific Sea Level Monitoring Project in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate and Ocean Support Program, Geoscience Australia, Pacific Island Governments and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Geoscience Division (GSD).

Click "Read More" below to watch video.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2015 13:06 Read more...
 

Snapshots 86: Disaster Reduction Programe: July - September 2014

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From The Manager's Desk

How time flies! We’re well into October and yet it seems that just yesterday we were coming out of the Pacific Platform for DRM in June. Strange but true. The rigours of the work schedule causes one to lose track of time. Next thing you know Christmas will be upon us and we’ll have to close the book on yet another year.

We’ve been part of some exciting initiatives over the course of the last few months and are happy to share some of them with you in this edition of Snapshots. Since the last edition in June, our team at the SPC Disaster Reduction Programme has increased further with the addition of 3 staff for the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment & Financing Initiative, Phase 3 project.

Amongst other activities, we’ve become the lead for a new programme of support for resilience building from the World Bank (more in future issues of Snapshots), have been progressing well in terms of the EU-funded Building Safety & Resilience in the Pacific project and helped to showcase the great work the region is doing on the integration of DRM and Climate Change at the SIDS conference held in September.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition. Stay tuned for more...just around the corner.

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Mosese Sikivou
Deputy Director
Disaster Reduction Programme

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:18
 

Fiji and Tuvalu sign maritime boundary agreement

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Wednesday 22 October 2014 – Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) – Suva, Fiji: Last Friday was an important occasion for the governments of Fiji and Tuvalu as a maritime boundary agreement was signed by the Prime Minister of Fiji, Honourable Voreqe Bainimarama, and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Honourable Enele Sopoaga. This signing event concluded many years of negotiations between senior government officials of both countries.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), through its Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (AGTD), assists member countries in the technical preparations of negotiations between neighbouring countries to legalise the extent of national areas of jurisdiction under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Regional Maritime Boundaries Unit within AGTD coordinates this support to member countries, working closely with its partners, which include the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, Geoscience Australia, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Programme GRID-Arendal Centre, the Australian Attorney General’s Office and the University of Sydney.

The Pacific Islands region has approximately 48 shared maritime boundaries, where neighbouring exclusive economic zones overlap. Counting the treaty signed between Fiji and Tuvalu last week, 33 of these boundaries are subject to a formal treaty.

During the signing ceremony, PM Bainimarama stated, 'As Pacific small island developing states, we have proven to the international community that we are no strangers to concluding highly technical and complex negotiations under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.'

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 November 2014 07:53 Read more...
 

Vanuatu Government seeks views of the people on deep sea mining

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Tuesday 14 October 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji: Last week in Port Vila, the Republic of Vanuatu commenced on a national consultation on a draft Deep Sea Minerals Policy. This is the first in a series of consultations to be held in every province.

Past studies in Vanuatu’s waters revealed the presence of seafloor massive sulphide deposits within its exclusive economic zone, which could contain significant quantities of copper, gold, zinc, silver and other commercially viable minerals. The presence of such minerals could present a potential economic opportunity for Vanuatu if deep sea mining activity is properly conducted and balanced with appropriate environmental, legal and financial management.

The draft Policy sets out Vanuatu’s vision and strategic goals in relation to its deep sea minerals, and will form the basis for future drafting of laws in line with the policy. The draft Policy has been prepared by the Ministry of Lands with advice from the Deep Sea Minerals (DSM) Project: a partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union (EU).

The DSM Project works to assist 15 Pacific Island countries to improve governance and management of their deep-sea mineral resources, including through the development of national policies and laws.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2015 13:08 Read more...
 

National Seabed Minerals Management Board launched in Marshall Islands

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Monday 13 October 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji -  The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) formed an Interim National Seabed Minerals Management Board (INSMB) on 2 October 2014. The board members, consisting of a small team of government officers and non-governmental representatives, are tasked by Cabinet to develop national policy and law for the appropriate governance of the nation’s deep sea resources. The Board will receive financial support and technical assistance from the Deep Sea Minerals (DSM) Project: a partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union (EU).

Old tales of treasure at the bottom of the ocean did not sound so fanciful in Majuro two weeks ago, when INSMB held its inaugural meeting to discuss the precious metals known to exist in the nation’s deep seabed.

INSMB Chairperson Rebecca Lorennij (Secretary for the Ministry of Resources and Development) thanked those at the meeting: ‘The RMI government and its people would like to thank SPC and the EU through the SPC–EU DSM Project for the ongoing support provided during the past few years.

The INSMB will now progress further with the national policy on deep seabed mining and the Seabed Management Bill before approval by the RMI government, a prerequisite to establish responsible governance and management of these resources.’

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2015 13:09 Read more...
 

Kiribati, the EU and SPC partner to ensure clean water and safe sanitation in atoll communities

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The European Union, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Government of Kiribati yesterday formalised a 3.3 Million Euro (4.75 Million AUD) partnership that is expected to increase access to safe water and sanitation in 35 villages in Kiribati's Gilbert Islands.

Funded by the European Union and to be implemented by SPC, the Water and Sanitation in Kiribati Outer Islands project will focus on improving water and sanitation infrastructure on the 16 islands of Kiribati's Gilbert group. It will also improve management of water and sanitation at the community level.

On signing the agreement, the EU’s Ambassador to the Pacific, Mr Andrew Jacobs highlighted the importance of effective partnerships to support local communities when pursuing development goals.

‘The European Union, SPC and Kiribati have forged a fruitful partnership over the years. This project is yet another example thereof. This project also reflects the EU's continued commitment to support the government of Kiribati and its people in their efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs], which are due for assessment in 2015,’ he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:18 Read more...
 

UN Women and SPC sign memorandum of understanding

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Wednesday 15 October 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) – Suva, Fiji: UN Women and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) commemorated International Day of Rural Women with an event that showcased stories from rural women themselves and culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Through the MoU, UN Women and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) – European Union (ACP-EU)-funded SPC implemented “Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Project” (BSRP) will work in collaboration to ensure the different needs, capacities, constraints and social roles of women and men are included in the design and implementation of the BSRP project activities. It is also aimed at strengthening the capacity of the 15 countries that the BSRP works in.

UN Women’s Deputy Representative for the Fiji Multi-Country Office, Nicolas Burniat, signed the MoU on behalf of UN Women and highlighted the importance of including women and girls to ensure the sustainability of climate change and disaster risk reduction strategies. The ACP-EU SPC BSRP project aims to reduce the vulnerability, as well as the social, economic and environmental costs, of disasters caused by natural hazards in the Pacific.

Inoke Ratukalou, Director of Lands Resources Division and Officer in Charge at SPC, says the MoU will play a big part in ensuring gender mainstreaming across the project’s activities.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:19 Read more...
 

Samoa develops capability for conducting Post Disaster Needs Assessments

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Tuesday 14 October 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) – Suva, Fiji: sWhat is the true cost of a disaster in human and economic terms and, once we know, what can we do to reduce the burden the next time?

These are the questions that were considered last week by a group of 29 participants as they completed Samoa’s first national training course in “Post Disaster Needs Assessment” (PDNA). The training, supported by the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) – European Union (ACP-EU)-funded “Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Project” (BSRP) is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and forms part of Samoa’s preparations for the forthcoming Tropical Cyclone season.

Samoa presently leads the way in conducting PDNAs in the region, having already conducted two assessments: the first in 2009, following the earthquake and tsunami and, the second in 2012, following Tropical Cyclone Evan. Both Assessments revealed the true economic cost of the disasters, far exceeding original estimates. The level of detail and accuracy contained within the assessments provided a strong foundation for the identification and prioritisation of appropriate measures to effect timely recovery and reconstruction.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:20 Read more...
 

SPC Publishes Ground-breaking Research on Landslides in Papua New Guinea that links Rainfall Variations with Landslide Incidence

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Joanne Robbins, a scientist at the Met Office in the UK and working with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has just published a summary of her extensive PhD thesis through SPC.Joanne has been working for the past four years on her thesis which focuses on the temporal and spatial variability of landslides across the whole of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the links between these events and changing rainfall patterns.

The project was jointly supervised between Professor Michael Petterson (formerly of the University of Leicester, UK and now Director of SPC Geoscience Division), Mr Ken Mylne (Met Office, UK), and Dr Joe Espi of the University of Papua New Guinea.  PNG’s Mineral Resources Authority and the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management were also close collaborators with Joanne and provided support and advise throughout.

PNG’s position within the highly-dynamic Maritime Continent, and the rugged and varied topography across the PNG Highlands and high parts of islands such as Bougainville and New Britain, mean that numerous meteorological and geological processes interact to result in landslides across the country.  

Joanne has documented that landslides occur more regularly at certain times of the year in PNG (e.g. during March April and May) and particularly during the wet La Nina episodes of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).  Landslides are less likely to occur during September and October and particularly during drier El Nino episodes.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2015 13:13 Read more...
 


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Newsflash

More than two years ago we published the last Pacific Islands GIS/RS Newsletter. Now, we have a new team and will publish in regular intervals again. During the last few years changes have happened in the world of GIS and RS application as new type of data is available and also new software and hardware to handle it.

Essential is the new quality of space borne image data where satellites like WorldView-1, GeoEye and WorldView-2 have increased their geo-accuracy due to more precise position capture during data recording through enhanced on board GPS and star tracker.

Also the spatial resolution of these optical range satellites has further increased just that this is not delivered outside US. The increased radiometric resolution allows better stratification of vegetation; data of WorldView-2 now covers eight spectral bands where three visible and one near infrared was the norm before.