Thursday 4 July 2013

Relocation guideline for Fiji

By Halitesh Datt, Fiji TV

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Fiji government is in the process of developing a relocation guideline for communities that are affected by the impacts of climate change.

The guideline will put in place some of the valuable lessons learnt and good practices from the current relocation sights in the country.

As Halitesh Datt reports, the guideline is expected to to be launched later this month.

The government is currently spearheading relocation of two communities in the country.

However people need not to panic about government's plan of relocating communities facing the brunt of climate change.

Director Political Treaties and Head of Climate Change Unit, Esala Nayasi says relocation is the last resort for the government and there is a need for a comprehensive discussion with the communities.

Director Political Treaties and Head of Climate Change Unit, Esala Naya

The government is also meeting with the development partners as well as donor agencies to source more funds for climate change related projects in the country.

Meanwhile the government is also taking these meetings as an avenue to explore more ideas of addressing climate change.

The government will make its recommendation for the United Nations COP 19 to be held in Poland at the end of the year.

Samoa wants agencies to be clear about their roles in climate change - “always best to involve many than none”

By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, Press Secretariat of the Government of Samoa:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Compartmentalisation is one thing that the Samoa Chief Executive Officer of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Afioga Taulealeausumai Laavasa Malua hopes to see achieved at the end of this week’s Pacific Climate Change Roundtable.

According to Taulealeausumai, what he wants is for CROP (Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific) agencies and donors to clearly define their roles.

He said CROP agencies have different functions, but with climate change it seems they are all involved.

“So it should be clear, who is responsible for which and who is doing what,” said Taulealea.

“It seems that these kinds of things are hard to implement, but it’s always best to involve many than none, the most important thing is for each party to understand their role to play.”

Taulealea said it’s not about the separation of roles because that could result in the break up of communications.

Taulealeausumai is concerned about agencies that are carrying out adaptation and mitigation projects in the region are duplicating each other.

I’m hoping that at the end of this meeting there’s a clear and concise compartmentalization of who deals with what, you know – rather than countries being flooded by everyone coming in and duplicating all these adaptations and also mitigation activities.”

SPREP commits to support PICs integrate policy framework 2016

By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has signaled its commitment to support Pacific Island governments in formulating an integrated policy framework on climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction and meteorological services.

SPREP Director, David Sheppard told officials at the joint meeting on the second day of the meeting in Nadi that SPREP is very much in support to see a better outcome for the pacific by the end of these meetings.

"SPREP has been very delighted to support the whole process of Pacific Meteorological Council of Pacific Island Countries and Territories to accelerate the process and working closely with partners and donors in support of the efforts of PICTs," Sheppard said.

He stressed that these meetings will help PICTs and donor partners and agencies look at how they can better integrate the work on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

Adding that at the general level, the pacific region has two major policy frameworks that has been adopted by governments of PICTs called the Pacific Islands frameworks for action on climate change and  policy framework on disaster risk reduction policy framework that finish in 2015.

He said the meetings would pave the way for 2016.

"This is the first time that these meetings are held together in line with the principle of looking at how we can better integrate our work.

"We also do that at the national level on what we call the joint national action plan process looking at national levels of integrating activities on climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction."

Adding that with the PMC meeting also held this week, it is important to identify the links between met-services and climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction

Sheppard said that the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) also held this week is seen as an opportunity every two years to identify a clear strategy towards a clear strategy framework in 2016.

"So we need to agree on what needs to happen and what are the roles of each countries and regional agencies to have a clear roadmap to move towards achieving the objectives. The commitment has been made to integrate the work on disasters, now climate adaptation but now we are trying to put the flesh on the bones."

Sea level in Solomon Islands predicted to rise over 8mm in the coming century

By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Solomon Islands like many other countries in the Pacific is at risk to coastal erosions, storm surges and water inundation with sea levels projected to rise the coming century.
As ocean water warms it expands causing the sea level to rise. The melting of glaciers and ice sheets also contributes to sea-level rise. Instruments mounted on satellites and tide gauges are used to measure sea level.
Studies undertaken under the Australian funded project, the Pacific Islands Climate Change Science Program indicated that sea level has risen near the Solomon Islands by about 8 mm per year since 1993. This is larger than the global average of 2.8–3.6 mm per year. This higher rate of rise may be partly related to natural fluctuations that take place year to year or decade to decade caused by phenomena such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Salesa Nihmei of Pacific Meteorological Desk Partnership at SPREP said that projections suggest that sea level in the Pacific region is likely to be similar to the global average however, he warned that higher values are possible with the increased understanding of ice sheet dynamics to improve sea level projections.
This will pose great threat to coastal communities' livelihood, infrastructure developments and socio economic activities of island economies.
This rise in sea level was related to global warming due to the increasing rates of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
Nihmei further highlighted that carbon dioxide concentrations are now higher than they were hundreds of thousands of years ago.
He said research over the past century clearly shows that higher green house gas concentrations warm up the planet as exactly observed globally and over the pacific.
Adding that research over the past 50 years shows all Pacific Island stations have warmed, most in the range 0.4˚-1.0˚C.
"Pacific is getting hotter, sea-levels are rising and ocean acidification has occurred. Further warming, acidification and sea-level rise appear inevitable," Nihmei said. 

Information on the projected changes of climate in each of the countries is available at each of the national meteorological services and encouraged the national stakeholders on to continue to involve the meteorological communities in their planning.

Donors promise to help Tokelau

By Makereta Komai, 

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Tokelau’s plea for help with the establishment of weather stations on its three islands has been answered, with an offer from New Zealand.
The head of the island’s environment services, Kelemeni Tavuto was overwhelmed with the positive responses from donors at the Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC) meeting, underway in Nadi this week.

“Tokelau is grateful to New Zealand for agreeing to support us with the most needed weather stations on our three islands. This was one of the urgent needs for our Met Service, said Tavuto.

He said coming to a regional meeting like the PMC has solved some of the immediate needs of the Met Service on the island, which comes under Environment Services.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has offered us four chatty beetles to help us with the dissemination of information to and from our islands.

“We will assign a chatty beetle device each for our three islands and one will be based at our office in Apia, said Tavuto.

Chatty beetle is a text based alert and message device used in remote locations the smaller island countries in the North Pacific, funded by NOAA. It is designed to disseminate hazard messages (e.g. tsunami warnings, heavy surf, tropical cyclone warnings, etc.) to remote islands.

“NOAA is ready to deliver the chatty beetle devices to Tokelau, as soon as we are ready. I will go back home now to prepare for the delivery.

“The University of Oklahoma has also promised to provide equipment for our weather stations, said Tavuto.

Tokelau was represented at the PMC meeting for the first this year, with funding support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Tokelau tells of challenges

By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, Press Secretariat of the Government of Samoa:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Moving forward with the rest of the Pacific Islands is a major challenge faced by the nation of Tokelau.

This is according to their representative at the Pacific Meteorological Council meeting in Nadi, Menny Tavuto.

Tokelau consist of three atolls with a population of approximately 1,400, is currently under the New Zealand administration.

Tavuto in an interview said having no national radio station, no meteorological service centre and limited access to the internet and telephone add to the challenge.
“There is an urgent need to install meteorological stations on the three atolls,” he said.

Tavuto said the reason for this is that the three islands namely Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu are widely scattered.

“We don’t want to be left behind, especially with the speed of technology and the vital role of communication today.

“Right now we don’t have a radio station to disseminate information, especially weather forecasts and disaster warnings.

“We still depend on 2AP (Samoa Government Radio Station) for news and weather forecasts,” although there are plans to add a new national radio station for Tokelau in December.

Science predicts Climate Change hardship for Pacific

By Evan Wasuka, Pacific freelance reporter, Editor Pacific Media Team 2013

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable has heard that, data has indicated that communities in the Pacific region Pacific is getting hotter, sea-levels are rising and ocean acidification has occurred.

Further warming, acidification and sea-level rise appear inevitable.

These long-term trends occur with a great deal of naturally occurring variability such as El Niño, but natural variability alone cannot explain past climate and will not wholly determine future climate.

The magnitude of future human-forced changes can be reduced if global emissions are reduced
SPREP meteorology & climate officer, Salesa
Nihmei at PCCR 2013, Nadi-Fiji.

SPREP's meteorology and Climate Officer, Salesa Nihmei told the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Nadi, that the recently climate change information has become available for countries after the completion of the set of studies carried out through the Ausaid funded project carried out in 2009 called the Pacific Climate Change Science Project  (PCCSP).

Information collected from meteorological stations in the region indicated that all Pacific islands have warmed over the past 50 years, most in the range 0.4˚-1.0˚C.

"For example in Samoa surface air temperature and sea surface temperature are projected to continue to increase over the course of the 21st century. There is very high confidence in this direction of change because and the warming is physically consistent with rising global greenhouse gas concentrations.
"By 2030, under a high emissions scenario, this increase in temperature is projected to be in the range of 0.4–1.0°C."

"Under the high emissions scenario, by 2090, temperature increases of greater than 2.5 °C are simulated by almost all models for the whole region."

Similarly, this detailed information is available for most of the Pacific Island Countries.

Nihmei says already the impacts of Climate Change are being experienced by Pacific Islanders.

There are projected increases in the annual mean rainfall over most of the region of the Pacific, especially along the equator.

For sea level, the Pacific is expected to follow the global trend but warned that higher values are possible.  The current measurements from the tide gauges confirmed by satellite altimeter measurements which are only from 1993 seem to suggest that the sea level trend show those of the high emission scenario. Ocean acidification is also expected to increase.

The 2013 Pacific Climate Change Roundtable is meeting from July 3-5.

Climate Change portal seeks meteorological partnership

By Evan Wasuka, Pacific regional freelance journalist
3 July 2013 Nadi, Fiji - National meteorological services in the region have been encouraged to join the Pacific Climate Change Portal ( as a way of getting meteorological information out to the public.

Launched in September 2012 by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, SPREP, the portal has been developed into a hub for climate change information in the region.

Presenting at the 2nd Pacific Meteorological Council, in Nadi, Fiji, Makelesi Gonelevu of SPREP says the addition of meteorological data on the portal would be of great benefit to users.

“Climate science is at the heart of climate change. National met services have the relevant scientific data and they have access to the latest information. Their input on the portal would mean better scientific information for the public.”

Since its launch, the portal has registered 100,000 hits up to March 2013.The portal is a clearing house for climate change information, containing an events calendar, experts directory, documents library, country profiles and a projects database.

Gonelevu says the project database has information on over 100 Climate Change projects in SPREP member countries.

“The portal is useful for donors, to see what climate change activities are taking place in different countries.”

Although the portal has over 600 documents on site, building content continues to be the portal’s biggest challenge. To counter this SPREP has issued a call to member countries for information and content. The plan is for country information on the portal to be updated by country editors, who are nominated by governments. 

“Before information is updated on the portal, it goes through a flow of approval by the national governments. Once it is approved then it will be updated.”

The Pacific Climate Change portal is administered by two committees. The first consists of an advisory committee made up of officials from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, University of the South Pacific, GIZ and SPREP. The second committee is a technical group from the same organisations. SPREP has conducted portal training for 10 PICTs in Fiji and the Federated States of Micronesia, to work with country editors. 

During the 2nd PMC, Palau requested to be included in future training's. Three countries, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga have started development of their own national portals, which will be integrated into the regional portal.

Community awareness key to tsunami response: Loti Yates

By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star:

3 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Community awareness is the key to having an effective response to natural disasters such as tsunami says the Director of Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates.
In his brief presentation at the joint meeting at the Pacific Meteorological Council meeting in  Nadi, Yates said experience from a February’s tsunami in Temotu Province found that awareness is the key to an effective warning system.
"Even if we had an early warning systems in place, it would not work for situations like what happened in Temotu.
“Even if we are to send warning messages through the radio or other telecommunication methods and media, these messages will reach the people after they are hit by the wave."
Although Solomon Islands relies on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre to give out warnings, Loti pointed out that this doesn’t work for a locally generated tsunami.
He stressed that with the geographical location of islands and its isolation, communities must have the authority and knowledge to make decisions.
Loti says the strengthening of early warning systems must go hand in hand with community awareness.

Weather station plans for Fiji's North

By Halitesh Datt, Fiji TV

4 July, 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Fiji Meteorological Service is planning to open up a weather station in the Northern division.
FMS already has a hydrology unit based in Labasa and intends to supplement this service with a new weather station.
Given the role that it plays not only in Fiji but in the region as well, the Fiji Meteorological Service plans to further strengthen its operations this year.
To begin this, the met service is already installing automatic weather stations around the country to collect important weather related data.

Acting Director for Fiji Met Service, Aminiasi Tuidraki

FMS is also awaiting a $5.7 million dollar grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to install a new early warning system.

Capital projects for the met service this year are pegged at FJD$5 million dollars.
The Acting Director for Fiji’s Met Service, Aminiasi Tuidraki says this is an effort to increase its network in Fiji and the region.

The Fiji met service is also hoping to carry out a public awareness programs regarding its operations.

Samoa’s Met and Disaster offices highlight good collaborations in Nadi

By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, Press Secretariat of the Government of Samoa:

3 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Good collaboration between the Samoa Meteorological Service Centre and National Disaster Management Division were highlighted at the Pacific Meteorological Council meeting in Nadi.

The Meteorological Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea said the two Samoa offices have joined forces to better provide natural disaster warnings and resources.

“The two offices have always work together,” said Mulipola who explained the process from issuing of warnings leading up to cyclones, and until the cyclone threats is cancelled.”

For example during Cyclone Evan, Mulipola said a total of 20 weather special bulletins were issued until the warning was finally cancelled.

The Assistant Chief Executive of Samoa Disaster Office, Filomena Nelson reiterated the importance of  partnership between the two offices.

She said the fact that the two offices are housed under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has assisted in information sharing and corporation.

The two offices were amongst those that presented during the second day of the PMC. 

Tokelau seeks Pacific help for its meteorology service

3 July, 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Fiji and Samoa have been thanked by Tokelau for providing timely weather reports to the tiny Polynesian atoll.

Without these daily weather bulletins, the 1,700 residents on the island are unable to make informed decisions daily on changing weather situation or prepare for any natural disaster, said Kelemeni Tavuto, the island’s manager environment services.

He is in Nadi this week to seek assistance from other Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) on improving climate services on the island.

“After the political referendum on the island in the 1990s New Zealand has shied away from some of its responsibilities, especially in the area of climate services, said Tavuto.

“That is why we are represented here to seek help from other Pacific Island Countries and Territories  and try and find ways to seek funding from donors.

Tavuto however admits that New Zealand provides million of dollars to other areas of the administration of the island but climate services, including meteorology has been neglected.

“For example, my department receives NZ$900,000 for three government department - which is sub-divided into environment, economic development and meteorology.

“Even though each ‘nuku’ or village is provided budget for its own, residents often rely on the national government to provide these essential services to the community, said Tavuto.

Responding briefly to the Tokelau country report, the Pacific Manager for NZMet, Penehuro Lefale said New Zealand has been and continues to assist Tokelau with its climate services.

One of the immediate needs for Tokelau is the establishment of weather offices on all the three islands.

“My main purpose here is to reach out to potential partners and donors to assist us. Tokelau will not reach its potential unless we get help from our Pacific brothers and sisters.

“I would expect them to assist us with the implementation of climate change programs and improved, severe weather updates, said Tavuto.

This is the first time that Tokelau is being represented at the Pacific Meteorological Council meeting.

Support for Australia, New Zealand and United States in Meteorological services

Ben Kedoga, NBC News Papua New Guinea 3rd July 2013, Nadi, Fiji

Big countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the United States have been, and will continue to be important partners in the development of meteorological service in the region.
This was highlighted by various country officials at the 2nd Pacific Meteorological Council meeting in Nadi, Fiji.

Met directors say there is a need for more training and support in the development of met services.

Acting Director of Vanuatu’s Meteorological and Geo–Hazard Department, David Gibson says despite several developments in the past few years, the region still needs more help in advancing its Met Services.

He says in Vanuatu there has been considerable changes and improvements within their Met Service and Geo Hazard Department, but they still face many challenges.