SPC Geoscience Division

PREEN - Pacific Resource and Environmental Economics Network - Newsletter, June 2013, Issue No: 8

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Welcome to the June 2013 Edition of the PREEN Newsletter.

This edition includes reviews of current work in the field including a recent publication on economic valuations of ecosystem services in the Pacific.

You will also find news from the launch of the economic assessment of cyclone Evan in Fiji and the Pacific meetings on Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change in the Pacific as well as upcoming events and announcements.

We hope you will find this newsletter useful in keeping up to date with the economics research and events in the Pacific region.

The next edition of this Newsletter will be in December 2013. We welcome new articles as they emerge so please do share your new findings, projects and events with us in view of keeping the network informed of developments in the Pacific.

Best wishes,
Anna Rios Wilks
PREEN Coordinator

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 14:12
 

Under Pressure - Deep Sea Minerals Documentary

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Under Pressure is a short video that examines the perspectives of different stakeholders involved with deep sea mineral resources in the Pacific.

Several Pacific Island nations are eagerly eyeing up the potential economic benefits from valuable deep sea mineral resources that have been discovered within their extensive maritime territories. Rising global demand for metals, combined with advances in mining technology, have spurred a rush of commercial interest in the potential profits to be gleaned from the depths of the ocean floor.  

These Pacific Island countries have now become the centre of an international debate over whether the sustainable economic benefits for Pacific Islanders will outweigh the environmental risks of harvesting these precious metals from the bottom of the sea. This short film examines the deep sea mining issue from a number of perspectives including anti-deep sea mining NGO’s, politicians, government agencies, deep sea mining companies, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Under Pressure is the first of a series of three films supported by the SPC-EU funded Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project. The next two films will explore the current state of scientific knowledge about deep sea minerals in the Pacific and the current situation in Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Island country that has been at the centre of the deep sea mining debate.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 14:09
 

Combining sciences is critical for effective risk reduction

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Wednesday 10 July 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – With the increasing flow of funding into the Pacific region for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation projects, it is essential to combine the perspectives of different sciences for effective outcomes. This is a key message from the Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable currently underway in Nadi, Fiji.

‘There are a lot of people with good intentions who want to do something useful about climate change adaptation,’ says Dr Arthur Webb of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).  ‘But for successful adaptation, we have to combine the sciences.’

‘You can have a technically sound climate change adaptation project, but if you don’t engage the social sciences in explaining activities to the community then the project will be less effective or could even fail,’ says Dr Webb, who manages SPC’s Oceans and Islands Programme.

‘If you have one group of scientists working to inform a community about something and they leave out another group of scientists with different and relevant expertise, then you don’t get the full picture.’

‘On the other hand, there are good examples of community disaster risk and climate change adaptation projects where the application of technical scientific principles is being combined with social science perspectives to ensure that critical aspects, such as communication and livelihoods, are taken into consideration,’ he says.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 09:11 Read more...
 

High-profile Pacific disaster risk management and climate change joint meeting opens in Nadi, Fiji

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Monday 8 July 2013: Nadi, Fiji – The first Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable has been officially opened at the Sofitel Resort and Spa in Nadi, Fiji.

Marking the occasion, the Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Samiu Kuita Vaipulu, received a ceremony of traditional welcome from the Government of Fiji. The meeting was officially opened by the Acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Mr. Aiyaz Sayad-Khaiyum. Also present at the opening ceremony were the Hon. Mark Brown, Minister for Finance and Economic Management of the Cook Islands, Hon. Thomas Laken, Minister for Planning & Climate Change Adaptation of the Republic of Vanuatu and Ms. Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

With this meeting the Pacific region has achieved a world first by bringing together the two principal regional conferences on disaster risk management and climate change. The joint meeting will contribute to the formulation of an over-arching regional strategy and framework for climate and disaster-resilient development to be considered for endorsement by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in 2015.

An integrated approach to addressing disaster risk reduction and climate change concerns will mean better use of national and regional capacities and resources to address the risks posed by hazards, whether they are extreme weather events such as cyclones and droughts or ‘slow onset’ events such as rising sea levels or ocean acidification associated with climate change. The strategy will further progress the agenda of enabling the Pacific Islands region to build resilience to our changing climate.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 July 2013 15:39 Read more...
 

Meeting Seeks Progress on Basic Water and Sanitation Goals in the Pacific

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The Pacific Regional Consultations on Water and Sanitation are being held at the Tanoa International Hotel, Monday 01-03 July 2013. Countries will be discussing how to progress action on the recent Statement by Pacific Heads of State and Heads of Delegations participating in the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 19-20 May, 2013.

Michael Pettersen, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC), says the Chiang Mai Statement highlights the concern of Pacific Leaders that the whole Pacific region is struggling to meet its Millennium Development Goals relating to water and sanitation.

“This Statement recognises that sustainable water supply and safe sanitation underpins the very feasibility of Pacific Island Countries. It is clear that national and international development goals are unlikely to be met without increased advocacy and financial support for water and sanitation, which will require renewed leadership and investment at the national, regional and international level,” he says.

Mr. Pettersen noted that efforts to improve water and sanitation in the Pacific region are not keeping up with the significant and growing impacts of population growth, urbanization, natural disasters and climate change.

“This weeks’ consultation meeting is designed to help Pacific Island Countries support the development of a revised framework for Water and Sanitation for the region building on work already established through the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Water Management which has been in place for the last ten years.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 July 2013 09:04 Read more...
 

Pacific leaders prepare for more extreme weather events

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TVNZ One News, Saturday July 13, 2013, Barbara Dreaver - Pacific leaders are working to be more prepared for disasters, after a year of wild weather events.

In the past year there has been flooding in Fiji, a cyclone in Samoa, an earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands and months of drought in the Marshall Islands - and research shows it is not going to get better.

The World Meteorological Organisation has released a report showing the world has experienced unprecedented high impact climate extremes in the past decade.

"We know from the scientists that the intensity of these cyclones are going to increase over time," said David Sheppard from the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

Not content to sit back and let it happen, Pacific leaders have vowed to combine resources for climate change and disaster management.

"Neither disasters or climate change is a thing for the future, it's an issue for today and tomorrow - the fact we learn so slowly," said the UN's Margereta Wahlstrom.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 14:09 Read more...
 

Pacific Island countries lead the world on integration of disaster risk management and climate change adaptation

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NADI, Fiji -The first Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable is being held 8–11 July at the Sofitel Hotel in Denarau, Nadi, Fiji.

Michael Petterson, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division, says the joint meeting demonstrates the fact that the region is now leading on the integration of disaster risk management and climate change adaptation efforts.

‘For several years our Disaster Reduction Programme has been working in close collaboration with regional partners, such the UNDP Pacific Centre and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, to help Pacific Island countries develop joint national action plans for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation,’ he says

Petterson says joint national action plans (JNAPs) integrating climate change and disaster risk management provide countries with a powerful planning tool to help them consider disaster and risk across a range of ministries.

‘At the end of the day, if your house falls down because of a climatic or another type of disaster, you don't care initially about the cause – you just want help. Experts in climate change and disaster risk management are seeking ways to work together to make the Pacific a safer place. The JNAP offers a roadway for deciding priorities, actions and partnerships, and several [country representatives] have shared their personal satisfaction with how this tool is now supporting a whole raft of government thinking,’ he says.

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Nadi Meeting Discusses Opportunities to Build Disaster Risk Management Capacity in the Pacific

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The 19th Annual Meeting of the Heads of National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs) of Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) is being held from July 01-3 at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, Fiji.

Mosese Sikivou, Deputy Director of the SPC’s Disaster Reduction Programme, says the meeting will provide Regional Disaster Managers with the opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities for institutional strengthening and capacity building.

Mr Sikivou says a main objectives of the meeting is to provide Regional Disaster Managers with an increased understanding of the Disaster Risk Management services and products available to them from SPC and other partner organisations

“The meeting also allows SPC, as the regional body mandated to coordinate Disaster Risk Management capacity building, the opportunity to learn from participants and to focus its work programme to better meet the needs of the group,” he says.

This meeting is also supporting preparation for the 2013 Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for DRM and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable from July 08-11, also in Nadi.

Mr Sikivou says the Disaster Reduction Programme will also continue to play a critical role in supporting member countries to integrate Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change into all relevant regional and national planning and policy measures.  He says that SPC’s commitment to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk management efforts will help Pacific Island countries to improve the way they identify and manage a range of risks that their communities are exposed to.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 14:10 Read more...
 

Natural disasters could cost an average US$278m a year for PICs

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Island Business: June 2013 Dionisia Tabureguci - Year after year, earthquakes and tropical cyclones have battered a number of small islands countries in the Pacific region, some to such a degree that thousands of lives are lost and millions of dollars in damages are incurred.

They have become regular visitors to the region, their tendency to disrupt national planning and put pressure on national budgets becoming as much a concern as their propensity to cut swathes through national population and bring untold trauma. Not surprisingly, scientific studies have categorised some of them as among the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to their exposure to natural hazards and indeed, while earthquakes and cyclones have been identified as the region’s two chief nemeses, the region is not spared from other forms like flooding, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

As momentum increases in the region to address their ravaging impacts, a new research is shedding new light on just how exposed Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) are to earthquakes and tropical cyclones, projecting an average annual bill of some US$278 million for 14 PICs from damages they will sustain from these two forms of natural disasters. Known as the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI), the multi-donor-supported project is administered by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Applied Science and Technology Division (SOPAC).

It uses a combination of historical data and new mapping technology to give vulnerable islands nations in the region improved tools for planning and preparedness.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 June 2013 14:01 Read more...
 


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Newsflash

From The Managers Desk

Bula and welcome to the February edition of Snapshots. There’s quite a hive of activity within the Disaster Reduction Programme and we’re happy to be able to share with you some of the successes of our Pacific island countries in disaster risk management.

Many of the staff did not have a moment to waste this past month and a number have been travelling around the region addressing a country priorities. You’ll hear about some of them in this issue. We are going to press with this issue shortly following the major devastating earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand where a number of lives have unfortunately been lost. We remember the families of those who lost loved ones in our prayers and also our untiring colleagues in the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management, and all emergency workers that have converged on Christchurch to assist in the rescue and recovery effort.

We also extend our best wishes to colleagues in the Vanuatu NDMO and other agencies in Vanuatu who have had to deal with relief efforts linked to 2 recent cyclones. It has kept them busy but they’ve still had time to support the on-going effort on a second phase of implementation for their DRM NAP which is currently underway. You’ll read more about this later.

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Mosese Sikivou
Deputy Director,
Disaster Reduction Programme