Tuesday 15 March 2011

Met Services ‘Pacific Desk’ for the region to be based at SPREP

14 March 2011, Alofi, Niue - An update on the work of the Pacific Meteorological Services was presented during a special lunchtime session at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtablen (PCCR) in Alofi, Niue.
This segment by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) was to inform participants about the work that has taken place since the Review of the Pacific Meteorological Services was completed a year ago.

The Review was held over a period of two years and involved in country visits of eight different SPREP members. It concluded with 10 key recommendations that were divided into three sub groups; Strengthening of the Fiji Meteorological Services; Regional support and Coordination; Strengthening National Meteorological Services.

“We’ve made some progress with the strengthening of regional support and coordination, which more or less means we have covered 80% of the review recommendations in that regard,” said Dean Solofa the Pacific Islands Global Climate Observation System (PIGCOS) at SPREP.

“Forming the ‘Pacific Desk’ at SPREP to help manage and implement the incoming ten-year strategy to bring about stronger met services in our region. It will consist of a team led by the Meteorology Climatology Adviser (MeCA), a new position for our region.”

The ‘Pacific desk’ will also provide technical support for strengthening meteorological services to the Pacific island countries and territories. This team establishes the foundation to carry out the recommendations made in the regional met service review.

“This will support SPREP’s role in helping the meteorology departments of the region provide a stronger service for their communities, SPREP is very pleased to be able to assist with this,” said David Sheppard the SPREP Director.

“We understand the importance of the met services to the Pacific and our role in supporting them is one we take seriously.”

The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation is a partner providing support for the ‘Pacific desk’ which plans to be in action by July this year.

Roundtable discussions underway on mobilising climate change resources

14 March 2011, Alofi, Niue - The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) is officially underway in Alofi, Niue with the theme “Mobilising Climate Change Resources for the Pacific”.

With the concern of Pacific countries being the most vulnerable on earth to the impacts of climate change, over 100 delegates from all over the world are gathering at the four day conference to address the urgent need to accelerate climate change finance through welcoming the increase involvement of donors and partners.

At today’s’ opening ceremony, a minute of silence was held in respect and memory of those from Christchurch, New Zealand and Japan who have undergone huge tragedies.

Mr David Sheppard, SPREP Director
“The tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, following so closely after the Christchurch earthquake remind us again of the power of nature and the vulnerability of Pacific nations to climate change and to natural disasters. The impacts of cyclone Heta in this country (Niue) in 2004 further underline this vulnerability,” said the Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“The issue of climate finance has been repeatedly emphasised by our leaders, and this is reflected in the theme for this roundtable.

“We all recognize that there must be a quantum leap in funding for climate change in the countries of our region, in particular for focused adaptation and mitigation programmes. We greatly appreciate commitments made under the Copenhagen Accord to provide 100 billion US dollars per annum by 2020 to support climate change efforts by developing countries,” he added.

“Climate finance must support systems and structures which exist at national and regional levels. It is vital that donor efforts be coordinated and sharply addresses the priorities developed by Pacific countries.”

Hon. Toke Talagi Premier of Niue

Premier of Niue, Hon. Toke Talagi hopes that one of the outcome of the PCCR are set plans for adaptation measures and mitigating infrastructure to help the Pacific survive the current trends until countries are able to at least stabilise their climate situation and hopefully reverse it; as it is already clear and recognised that these are generational decisions and new phenomena.

“Our current work of preparing the budgets to help implement the five-year National Strategic Plan will help us with our climate change objectives priorities and funding options.

“For the funding institutions and donor countries we urge you not just to pledge the funds but to ensure they are released in a timely manner so that we can activate our plans and programs.”

The Roundtable is seen as the premier forum for discussion on climate change issues in the Pacific involving all agencies and stakeholders as partners.

The meeting is currently underway and is from the 14th to the 18th of March.

Choir singing at the opening ceremony