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Tonga’s Prime Minister launches the world’s first regional strategy for surveying and geospatial capacity development

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Tonga's first regional strategy for surveying

16 Apr 2018 | Nuku’Alofa

The Honourable Prime Minister of Tonga Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pōhiva officially launched the Pacific Geospatial and Surveying Council Strategy 2017-2027 today in the presence of surveying and geospatial specialists from around the region and the globe. The 10-year strategy represents a global first, as it is the first geospatial and surveying strategy to be collectively produced and endorsed by a regional advisory body- the Pacific Geospatial and Surveying Council (PGSC). “I am very pleased to be hosting this event here in Tonga. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has been extremely busy with recovery work for the past two months, but I commend them also in their dedication to the long-term regional vision of the PGSC,” the Hon Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pōhiva said during the launch.The Prime Minister recognised the launch as timely given the aftermath of Cyclone Gita and the importance of geospatial information and surveying in the immediate damage assessment stages and also in the mid-to-long term rebuilding plans.

 

“There will always be natural disasters and hazards in our region and that we must continue to build our national and regional capacities to anticipate and respond to these,” he added.

The PGSC meetings are organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) with support from the Australian-funded Climate and Oceans Support Programme in the Pacific (COSPPac). “Australia is committed to enabling sustainable and climate resilient development in the Pacific Islands,” the Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, Mr Andrew Ford said at the event. “Given the key role geospatial information plays in this work, I can assure the Council that Australia will remain a committed partner in implementing the Pacific Geospatial and Surveying Strategy in the years ahead.”

For any country, geospatial information plays a key role strategic planning and financing that contributes towards informed decision-making and sustainable growth. “The growing number of initiatives in recent years and the launch of this strategy are signs of a strong regional voice for geospatial and survey professionals,” said Mr Akuila Tawake, Deputy Director for Geo-resources and Energy.  “SPC will continue to work with member countries to implement this strategy.”

The Pacific Geospatial and Surveying Council Strategy highlights the development priorities of Pacific Lands and Survey, Geospatial Information Management, and Hydrographic Departments and provides the strategic direction for strengthening the capacities of these agencies. The PGSC meeting will conclude at the end of the week, and is held in conjunction with United Nations Initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) International Workshop on Legal & Policy Framework for Geospatial Information.

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2018 10:13  

Newsflash

Exploring for deep sea minerals and possible exploitation in future presents an emerging new economic opportunity for Pacific Island countries. But this opportunity must be balanced against protection of the ocean environment and preservation of rare and fragile ecosystems and ocean habitats.

Dr Russell Howorth of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) emphasised this point in his opening address at the Regional Training Workshop on Geological, Biological and Environmental Aspects of Deep Sea Minerals, saying that ‘the precautionary approach must prevail.’ Dr Howorth is Director of SPC’s Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) Division.

The workshop, held recently in Nadi, was organised by the EU-funded, SPC Deep Sea Minerals (DSM) Project and is part of the technical assistance provided to the 15 Pacific-ACP (African Caribbean and Pacific) states.

The 15 states are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

He said that DSM Project team members have already completed 13 national stakeholder consultation workshops across the region, with plans to visit the remaining two countries, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste, in September.