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Young people debate topic of deep sea minerals

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The Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the European Union and the Government of the Solomon Islands hosted a national youth debate on deep sea minerals on Thursday (4 June 2015) at the National Auditorium in Honiara.

 

SPC initiated this debate in an effort to increase public awareness of issues related to deep seabed minerals in the Pacific, including for the Solomon Islands.

 

The debate featured 14 youths from nine high schools in Honiara.

 

Prior to the debate, the students took part in training after school hours on different aspects of deep sea minerals and mining to improve their understanding of the potential positive and negative aspects of this emerging industry and what it may mean for the Solomon Islands.

 

“The debate aimed to encourage young people and students to research and gain more knowledge on matters relating to deep sea minerals and to encourage a participatory approach whereby all stakeholders can frankly exchange views on various issues relating to deep sea minerals,” the SPC Deep Sea Minerals Project Team Leader, Akuila Tawake said.

“This initiative is part of our ongoing efforts to increase public understanding of the key issues related to the management of deep sea mineral resources rights across the Pacific region,” Mr Tawake added.

 

"The debate aims to raise awareness and involve civil society in a process that does present strong arguments in favour and against. The economic benefits need to be carefully weighed by all stakeholders against possible environmental and social costs,” the European Union’s Head of Operations in Solomon Islands, Ioannis-Pavlos Evangelidis, said.

 

“I hope this debate will help sensitise the Solomon Islands Government and its people around a question that could influence future generations. I hope that collectively, we can reach an informed decision, rather than leave the initiative to the private sector,” he added.

 

“I am privileged and honoured to be part of this debate organized by SPC and the Solomon Islands Government. I have learned a lot of things during the course of the trainings. As a Solomon Island citizen and a future leader of tomorrow, this debate will help me make the right decisions when the time comes, but for the time being I am happy to be able to create awareness of issues relating to deep sea minerals and mining,” Debate winner, Ms Patisha Del Wate from King George IV High School said.

 

Deep sea mineral deposits, such as seafloor massive sulphides, cobalt rich crusts and manganese nodules, have been discovered within the Exclusive Economic Zones of Pacific Island countries and territories, sparking commercial interests from mining companies due to the high concentration of metals like copper, gold, silver, zinc, lead, cobalt, nickel and platinum.

 

These minerals are increasingly being recognized as a future potential source of revenue and economic development for many Pacific Island countries.


Media contact: Vira Atalifo, SPC Deep Sea Minerals Project Support Officer (  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it +679 3249303 or +679 3381377 ext: 36303

Caption: Debate winner, Patisha Del Wate, from King George IV High School

 

 

Newsflash

Monday 17 June 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) –  The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), with Geoscience Australia, has developed a computer model to help the Government of Tonga see what the impact of a tsunami would be on Tongatapu. Part of an AusAID funded project, the model makes use of high resolution data, the collection of which was made possible by Australia, the European Union, and the New Zealand Ocean Sciences Grant.

The new Tsunami Inundation Model shows that an 8.7 magnitude earthquake in the Tonga Trench would create a wave that would hit the eastern coast of Tongatapu within ten to twenty minutes, inundating most of Nuku’alofa.  Leveni ‘Aho, Director of Tonga’s National Disaster Management Office, says the new computer model has enabled the Government of Tonga to consider how the public would need to respond in a range of possible scenarios.

‘Nuku’alofa has, perhaps, the biggest urban population in the Pacific living in a very low-lying area. We can talk about Japan’s earthquakes but if we can present something that shows what is going to happen to us here at home, the message is much more effective.  For us, it’s an excellent opportunity to help communities to be aware of what could possibly come and what they will need to do if a significant event occurs,’ he says.

After the model was presented to the cabinet and the National Emergency Management Committee, the Hon. Prime Minister Lord Tuʻivakanō indicated that the government would need support to construct access ways to some parts of Nuku’alofa so that the local community can quickly get to safe areas.

Mr ‘Aho says the model is also helping the Government of Tonga to design emergency response measures and improve long-term urban planning for Nuku’alofa and its surrounding villages.‘The tsunami computer model given by SPC has provided the government with a wonderful tool to help us really understand the risks of different scenarios and to prepare in the best ways we can,’ he says.

Mosese Sikivou, Deputy Director of SPC’s Disaster Reduction Programme, says this project is part of SPC’s assistance to Tonga in connection with its Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management, approved by Cabinet in July 2010. The work to develop the model is part of an integrated approach that SPC and other partners are taking right across the Pacific to try and maximise scarce resources and minimise duplication of effort and potential conflict in policy development.