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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.

 

Media contacts:

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2018 10:13  

Newsflash

Majuro, June 27, 2012: An expert from Tuvalu is leading the construction of composting toilets in Majuro, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), to trial how effective they are at reducing septic pollution of Majuro’s main groundwater resource, the Laura water lens.

The dry eco-san composting toilets use very little water and have the twin benefits of both conserving water and preventing sewage from leaching out of septic systems and into the surrounding environment. The toilets have already been successfully trialled on Tuvalu’s main atoll of Funafuti, where 40 toilets have been constructed.

Tuvalu’s experience with these toilets has also generated interest in other Pacific island countries. Tonga has constructed two demonstration toilets in households on the island of Vava’u, while Nauru has installed them in several primary schools.The initiative is part of a regional Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) demonstration project to build the capacity of Pacific Island countries to manage water resources.

Pisi Seleganiu, Project Manager of Tuvalu’s GEF IWRM project currently in Majuro, believes composting toilets are the most appropriate sanitation technology for atoll countries which have scarce water resources and porous soils.