By Samisoni Pareti of Islands Business Magazine
14 August, 2017, Honiara, Solomon Islands, PMC-4 – With growing membership and a record number of delegates, the 4th Pacific Meteorological Council began its biennial meeting in the Solomon Islands capital today.
On hand to welcome the 170 delegates of the 4th PMC was Solomon Islands’ Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Honourable Samuel Manetoali.
Minister Manetoali in his welcoming address spoke about the vulnerability of Solomon Islands to the impacts of climate change and climate variability, and highlighted the important work of his country’s National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS).
“Solomon Islands is located in the genesis region as well as in the path of tropical cyclones. We are also surrounded by the west Pacific warm pool, an area of water with warmest sea surface temperature on the earth’s surface. The presence of these climate features increases our risk to the impacts of extreme weather and climate events including climate change,” said Hon. Manetoali.
He added: “Through our climate change projects, we have established a series of automated rain gauge stations as well as a series of seismic stations around the country to improve our early warning systems. Another important development is the proposed Joint National Warning Centre building as well as our Ministry’s Building at Vavaya Ridge.”
Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) Mr Kosi Latu commended the government of Solomon Islands for hosting this week’s 4th Pacific Meteorological Council and the 2nd Pacific Meteorological Ministers Meeting scheduled on Friday.
“It is twenty four months since the Pacific Meteorological Council’s third meeting in Nuku’alofa, Tonga in July 2015. I would like to say that a lot of progress and achievements have been made collectively as a region and by each and everyone of your National Meteorological Services to safeguard and build the resilience, wellbeing and livelihood of communities and their development aspirations,” DG Latu told PMC delegates.
He also outlined the achievements of the PMC over the years, including:
· Establishing the Pacific Met Desk Partnership in SPREP
· Releasing more application tools to assist national PMC members to better access and translate weather and climate information
· Establishing of panels of experts on climate services, aviation weather services, education, training and research, infrastructure and communications and marine and ocean services within the PMC
· Reviewing the Pacific Island Meteorological Strategy, and developing a new Pacific Roadmap for Strengthened Climate Services which will be presented at this meeting for endorsement by members
· Progressing plans to establish the Pacific Climate Change Centre in SPREP with the support of the governments of Samoa and Japan
· Supporting two PMC members of Nauru and Tokelau to establish their meteorological services with other partners
· Forging new and stronger partners with Finnish Meteorological Institute, CSIRO, Australian Bureau of meteorology, APEC Climate Centre, Korean Meteorological Agency, IPCC (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change) and new potential partnerships
One of the first items on the agenda of day one of the 4th PMC was the handing over of the chairmanship of the PMC by the host of the last PMC, who’s also the Director of the Tongan Meteorological Services, Mr Ofa Faanunu.
Mr Faanunu said he is proud of the many achievements of the PMC during his two-year tenure, but believes there are still much to be done.
“Later this week we will be meeting with our development partners to bring to their attention matters of urgency and importance for support and I encourage our members to work together to advance our agenda further through renewed commitments directed to the areas where it will make the most impact,” said MrFaanunu.”
Solomon Islands’ acting Director of Meteorology Mr Lloyd Tahani is the new chair of the PMC and Director for Fiji Meteorological and Hydrological Services, Mr. Ravind Kumar is the new vice chair of PMC, which is being attended by heads of meteorological services of the 21 countries and territories of the Pacific that are members of the PMC. Also attending are representatives of regional organisations of the Pacific that are members of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) and supporting United Nation agencies and development partners from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Finland, Europe and the United States.
The 4th PMC will for the first time introduce a Partners’ Dialogue with donor and development agencies on Thursday and it will conclude with the 2nd Pacific Ministerial Ministers Meeting on Friday. At least 18 SPREP-member governments have confirmed the participation of their ministers or representatives in the PMMM on Friday including the deputy prime ministers of Samoa and Tonga. – #PacificMet #PMC4
The Fourth Pacific Meteorological Council is being held in Honiara, Solomon Islands from the 14 – 17 August co-hosted by the government of Solomon Islands, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This will followed by the Second Pacific Meteorological Ministers Meeting (PMMM) on the 18 of August.
The PMC and PMMM is supported by the Government of Solomon Islands, SPREP, WMO, Government of Australia through the Climate and Oceans Support Programme (COSPPac) and Pacific Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Programme (PACCSAP), Government of Finland, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United Nations Development Programme through the Resilience in the Pacific (SIDS) project.
The PMC consists of members of the Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological Services supported by its technical partners, regional organisations, non-government organisations and private sectors.
This article was developed by a Pacific Media Team of Reporters currently providing coverage on the Fourth Pacific Meteorological Council in Solomon Islands. This activity coordinated by SPREP is supported by a partnership between the Government of Solomon Islands, SPREP, Australia funded project (Climate and Oceans Support Program (COSPPac) and UNDP Disaster for Pacific SIDS (RESPAC) project.