By Ana Uili of MEIDAC (Tonga)
18 August, 2017, Honiara, Solomon Islands, PMC-4 – The Government of Tonga will be committing US$25 million to the kingdom’s meteorological service to develop resilience to extreme weather events and to strengthen its early warning system.
Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni announced this during discussions on the outcomes of the Nuku’alofa Ministerial Declaration of 2015 at the Pacific Meteorological Ministers Meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands today.
“My government is looking to commit over US$25 million to the development of our multi-hazard early warning system over the next three years. We are looking at upgrading our MET stations throughout the country including upgrade of office infrastructure and specialized instrumentation.”
Hon Sovaleni said investments are going into strengthening Tonga’s early warning and disaster response communications and alert systems.
“Building the capacity in terms of data management system and technical capacity of our national agencies in coordination in disaster risk financing are also a focus of this investment to build our resilience to national hazard.”
With regards to the Nuku’alofa Declaration, Hon Sovaleni stated that the Tongan Government had presented the declaration to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting that was held in Papua New Guinea in 2015.
This was done he said to ensure the mechanism we put in place to mobilise the required support for our MET priorities at the highest level.
“So I can say that our Pacific leaders are now aware of the need to strengthen the MET services in the region as an important investment in sustainable development. “The expanded theme of the 4th Pacific Meteorological Council Meeting to include ocean and hydrology demonstrates the growing important of NMHSs in contributing to the sustainable and resilient development of the Pacific.”
Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister stated that it was clear after the presentation from the Director General of SPREP on the outcomes of the Nuku’alofa Ministerial Declaration and PMC-4 that was has been accomplished has already been established.
He expressed his gratitude to the members of the Pacific Meteorological Council, the World Meteorological Organisation, SPREP and development partners for the progress of the Nuku’alofa Declaration.
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.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) or the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)both of which provided funding for generating media articles.
By Ana Uili of MEIDAC (Tonga)