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CROP Agencies and International Stakeholders Highlight the Significance of Spatial Data for the Pacific

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva - A broad range of geospatial data experts, managers and stakeholders from the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP), as well as partner agencies convened for the 2nd CROP Spatial Data Infrastructure meeting. The session was held at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva on June 17th to 18th 2014.

The meeting was opened by Prof Michael Petterson, Director of SPC’s Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (AGTD), where he highlighted the various challenges facing effective geospatial data management in the Pacific. Such challenges cited were under-skilled staff, limited understanding by responsible personnel of available datasets, and obsolete formats of residing data. He encouraged the meeting to bring about some positive outcomes to address these and the many other challenges.

Participants reviewed current spatial data systems within CROP agencies to find ways to harmonize current efforts and to identify opportunities for future collaboration. SPC’s PacGeo, Open Access Data Repository for the Pacific, was showcased, along with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) ongoing efforts to develop ESIS.sprep.org, an Open Access Repository for Pacific Environmental data.

The meeting also addressed ways to promote and strengthen avenues for standardised, cost-effective data sharing across agencies and Pacific Island countries, in order to reduce duplication of data collection and management efforts.

In-depth discussions around achieving the Pacific Oceanscape Framework Strategic Priorities was also held, in particular building the political will to invest in spatial data infrastructures in order to achieve some of the priorities.

One key result of the meeting was the decision to standardise global data standards across sister agencies, and enable secure data access within agencies, inter-agencies and externally.

Around 20 participants attended the two day meeting from SPC’s AGTD, SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division, University of Sydney, GRID Arendal, Geoscience Australia, GIZ, SPREP, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and CSIRO. This consultation is part of a broader technical collaboration between the agencies involved across a broad range of disciplines.

For further information contact: Sachindra Singh, ICT for Development Section, Applied Geoscience and Technology Division, Secretariat of the Pacific Community – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 December 2015 09:54  


1st August 2014 – Secretariat of the Pacific Community – Koror, Palau: This morning, delegates to the 45th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Palau witnessed the signing of a maritime boundary treaty between the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the United States of America (USA) to delimit the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) between the two countries. Signing the treaty on behalf of FSM was Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert; the United States of America was represented by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dennise Mathieu.

The agreement, which has taken one and a half years to formulate, provides definitive legal status to the boundaries between the overlapping EEZs of FSM and the US Territory of Guam in the North Pacific Ocean.

This agreement underscores the importance of clearly establishing national areas of jurisdiction and limits under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which provides the foundation for improved governance, protection, conservation and management of national ocean resources.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community, through its Applied Geoscience and Technology Division, assists member countries in this process in close coordination with a large consortium of partners who combine resources to deliver comprehensive service and expertise, including the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, Geoscience Australia, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) GRID-Arendal centre, Australian Attorney General’s Office, and the University of Sydney.

The Pacific Islands region has approximately 48 shared maritime boundaries where neighbouring EEZs overlap. With the addition of this signed treaty, 32 of these boundaries are formalised and subject to treaty.