SPC Geoscience Division

Tonga a world leader in seabed minerals law

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The Kingdom of Tonga this month became the first country in the world to put in place a law that manages seabed mineral activities within its national marine space and under its sponsorship in international waters.

Tonga’s Seabed Minerals Act 2014 was prepared with the assistance of the Deep Sea Minerals Project a partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and 15 Pacific Island countries. The Act received Royal Assent from the King of Tonga on 20 August 2014. This pioneering law, championed by Tonga’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and his staff, and led by the Kingdom’s Attorney-General’s Office, with SPC support, positions Tonga at the forefront of good governance for this emerging new industry.

Tonga, like Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Solomon Islands, has already received significant commercial interest in the seabed mineral potential within its national seas. Companies are currently conducting exploratory activities to learn more about Tonga’s ‘seafloor massive sulphide’ deposits. These chimney like structures, formed by hydrothermal activity at the seafloor thousands of metres below sea-level, are being feted as a new source for metals in global demand (such as copper, zinc, gold and silver) – and, if mined, would bring a new source of revenue for Tonga.

The industry is however an untested one: deep sea mining has not yet occurred anywhere in the world; its viability and environmental impact are yet to be determined.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2015 13:18 Read more...
 

Building capacity to manage emergency operations in Palau

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Participants from Palau Government departments, Palau Red Cross and the media attended training last week on establishing and managing Emergency Operations Centers.

In 2012, Typhoon Bopha impacted Palau and affected hundreds of people and destroyed 70 homes, displacing 131 people, while in 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the whole northern-most state of Kayangel, destroying 39 homes and severely damaging dwellings from Babeldaob to Koror.

These two events highlighted a need for Palau to increase the number of personnel trained to manage the response to emergencies and to work in the National Emergency Operations Center. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), through support from the European Union project, Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific, is working with Palau to address this need by providing training in Emergency Operations Centers for 17 representatives of government, civil society and the media.

Ms Priscilla Subris, Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Office, opened the week-long training by stressing the importance of all agencies working together and thanking participants for taking the time ‘to learn how to be part of Palau’s response to future emergencies’.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 September 2014 15:23 Read more...
 

SPC refines links with the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)

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ISPRS

Prof. Christian Heipke during the discussion with GIS&RS users in Suva

The Secretary General of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), Prof. Christian Heipke, met with the SPC Deputy Director, Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu and SPC’s Geoscience Division Director Prof. Mike Petterson, last Friday to discuss further enhancement of the link between ISPRS and SPC-GSD.

ISPRS bundles national geospatial societies and through this, ISPRS has the largest network of research and method development in the geospatial area.

SPC-GSD has been the regional member for Pacific Island countries for the last 10 years with the rationale of using this network to benefit its member countries.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 December 2015 09:53 Read more...
 

Understanding the Spatial and Temporal Occurrence of Landslides Using Satellite and Airborne Technologies: Papua New Guinea

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Data Release Report by Joanne Robbins

Landslides pose a significant threat to life and infrastructure in Papua New Guinea (PNG), with numerous movements being recorded annually. Such events are typically instigated by the combined effects of different geomorphological control factors, such as slope or geology, and the influence of a triggering event (i.e. an earthquake or heavy rainfall). Rugged topography and high seismicity combine in PNG, to make the region highly susceptible to large-volume, earthquake-induced landslides, while the climate encourages widespread rainfall-induced landslides. Of the two triggering mechanisms, understanding rainfall-induced landslide occurrence offers the best scope for early warning/forecasting system development, as meteorological models and data availability improve.

This paper presents an overview of research conducted to understand regionally-based, rainfall-induced landslide occurrence in PNG. Given the regional focus of this research and the need to develop a cost effective and reproducible methodology, pre-existing or freely available satellite and airborne data have been used. The aim of this research was to develop models capable of identifying rainfall events with the potential to trigger landslides, as well as models that distinguish areas of heightened landslide susceptibility from those with low/no landslide susceptibility. Together, these modelling approaches can be used to generate a broad-scale early warning/forecasting system, which could help to reduce the losses associated with landslides across PNG.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 09:55 Read more...
 

Building Capacity for Resilient Development

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Pacific Island countries are amongst the most disaster prone in the region, exposed to natural hazards such as floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, which all pose a significant challenge to development in the Pacific region. A single disaster event can result in losses in the millions of dollars and can undo progress in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare and education.

Despite recognition of the importance of disaster resilient approaches to development, many countries face challenges in identifying ways to effectively mainstream risk reduction considerations into national development planning processes. To address this, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, in partnership with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre is holding a one week training workshop which focusses on how to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction into development.

The training, in Nadi from 14-18th July, includes participants from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu with representatives of National Disaster Management Offices and ministries responsible for national planning and finance. Representatives from the Pacific islands Forum Secretariat, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and United Nations Development Programme will also participate in the training workshop.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 09:05 Read more...
 

SIDS 2014 Side Event: Building Pacific Resilience

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 20:34
 

Water and sanitation a critical development issue for the Pacific

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Water and sanitation are among the key challenges facing the Pacific Island region and will be a focus for discussion at the upcoming Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa, 1‒4 September.

According to Mike Petterson, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division, all Pacific SIDS have made some progress in water and sanitation but not enough.

‘Many of these efforts are not keeping up with population growth, meaning the region as a whole is actually going backwards compared to the rest of the world,’ said Professor Petterson. ‘SPC is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF to assess progress against the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) targets for water supply and sanitation. For the region as a whole the findings aren’t good.’

UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist, Marc Overmars, said the MDGs aim to halve the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation and safe drinking water by 2015.  ‘The data we’ve collected with WHO suggest that for the Pacific as a whole, progress towards these targets has been poor compared to neighbouring regions and the world,’ he said.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:37 Read more...
 

GSD News 2nd Quarter: April - June 2014

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Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2015 13:21
 

Pacific Resource and Environmental Economics Network - Issue 10 June 2014

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Welcome to the June 2014 edition of the PREEN Newsletter. This edition includes details of current projects in the field including an economic valuation of the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape of Fiji, and results from the first pilot study in the Alternative Indicators for Melanesia Initiative.

You will find information on the recently released ADB report on the economic costs of the water and sanitation situation in Tarawa, Kiribati, as well as recent training events on economics for sustainable resource use and conservation.

We welcome new articles as they emerge so please do share your new findings, projects and events with us to keep the network informed of developments in the Pacific.

Best wishes,
Anna Rios Wilks
PREEN coordinator


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 10:51
 


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Newsflash

Thursday 27 November 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Suva, Fiji - The Pacific region continues to face development issues and technology of all kinds is assisting many areas of decision making, wealth generation and job creation. This was the focus of opening remarks delivered by Professor Michael Petterson, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (AGTD) at the Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS & RS) conference.

The GIS & RS conference opened on Tuesday, 25th November at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji with the theme “Empowering Pacific Communities through Improved Geospatial Data”, and where approximately 280 participants were in attendance with representatives from countries and agencies from the Pacific and beyond.

‘Although we have some way to go because of limited capacity and resources, organisations like SPC have made a solid start in developing modern databases, applying new technologies, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, multivariate satellite spectra and bathymetric instruments. These technologies allow for rapid coverage of land and lagoon, enabling experts to determine land use, forestry cover, areas of mineralisation, sites for geothermal energy and to assist with planning decisions,’ Petterson described.