Pacific Community 2016 Year in Review: Part two


Here is part two of our news highlights – July to December 2016 – during a remarkable year for international development and for the Pacific Community (SPC).

Young people from Pacific Melanesian states began training under the Emerging Youth Leaders of Melanesia Programme, a comprehensive initiative designed to develop strong youth leaders and equip them to lead development efforts in the region.

A new project was launched to save Pacific coconut diversity and associated livelihoods from climate change impacts and other threats.

Tukuraki Village in Ba, Fiji was relocated due to its vulnerability to natural disasters with support from a European Union-funded project implemented by SPC that supports Pacific Island countries to reduce disaster impacts on communities in a real and meaningful way.

Vanuatu’s rehabilitated National Freshwater Aquaculture Centre reopened with funding support from Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and SPC after being damaged by category five tropical cyclone Pam. Aquaculture particularly on a small scale for inland freshwater communities in Vanuatu, is a primary production sector that contributes to food security.

A study, Fisheries in the Economies of Pacific Island Countries and Territories, produced by SPC provided a new baseline for assessing the value of fisheries in the Pacific, both for measuring achievements and for assessing future improvements in sustainable fishery management.


SPC’s Geoscience Division received international recognition for its exemplary innovation and practices in geospatial information and technology which benefits the Pacific region across a broad range of sectors including climate change adaptation and disaster management.

Our Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, was honoured with a Life Award in recognition of his contribution and commitment to improving Pacific health services and training by the Pasifika Medical Association.

Matuku, a remote island in Fiji’s Lau Province, began work on organic certification with support from the US government and SPC-hosted Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom). The initiative will enable the isolated island communities to produce organic products for the world market while preserving their natural environment.

Ninety Fijian women community leaders received training on human rights and leadership to better understand the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and contribute to public policy through advocacy and lobbying.


Pacific Leaders endorsed the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP), the world’s first integrated regional framework to build resilience to climate change and disasters. A Technical Working Group provided technical advice and support to this process comprising representatives from the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS), United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the University of the South Pacific (USP).

We highlighted climate change, resilience and sustainable fisheries in the Pacific Islands region at the world’s largest conservation congress in Hawaii.

On the 5 Anniversary of International Literacy Day, we announced our regional winners for our multimedia competition on why reading matters. SPC launched the competition to promote the benefits of literacy among Pacific children and youth following the release in June of the latest Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA) which revealed cause for concern with literacy among Year 4 and Year 6 students.

New Zealand committed NZ$12.15 million to support sustainable coastal fisheries and aquaculture projects in the region.  SPC, through its Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries Programmes, is partnering with the Forum Fisheries Agency and New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries to implement the two new five-year initiatives.

SPC released a new, comprehensive guide to 320 species of edible coastal fish in Pacific Islands to assist fisheries officers in identifying species during surveys of catches and at fish markets.

The 2016 season of SPC’s flagship television programme The Pacific Way launched regionally, bringing the ground-breaking programme into more homes in the Pacific Islands.


Funded by Global Environment Facility, the Pacific Ridge to Reef project was launched to improve the livelihoods and opportunities of Pacific Islanders through local actions to conserve and rehabilitate their environments. The Project aims to support Pacific Small Island Developing States in addressing national priorities and development needs while delivering local and global environmental benefits across multiple areas including biodiversity, land degradation, international waters, sustainable forest management, climate mitigation and adaptation and capacity development.

A new EU-funded regional coconut project was launched to improve the competitiveness of small producers in the Pacific coconut industry. In a related initiative, SPC took proactive measures to assist Pacific Island countries in their efforts to curb any resurgence of the coconut rhinoceros beetle, which can cause severe damage to the export industry.

We strengthened ties with Bangkok-based Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP) through a memorandum of understanding which will further the use of geoscience to guide sustainable development in the Pacific Islands region.

In a world-first, the Pacific launched a regional industry association for practitioners involved in climate change, disasters and other fields related to building resilience.

A disability-inclusive training to reduce disaster impacts was trialled in a village setting in Papua New Guinea to ensure that in times of disaster, community members with disabilities are effectively supported.


The Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific committed to assisting member governments implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In the lead up to World Diabetes Day, we released our latest version of Pacific Nutrition Bingo, a fun educational tool to promote healthy eating and combat the serious threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the region.

Government representatives from 10 Pacific countries met to finalise a practical guide for using statistics to report on Pacific Island countries’ progress with implementing international human rights treaties.

In celebrating World Science Day, we highlighted the contribution of our Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) to biodiversity conservation and food security with a video message by our Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga.

World experts gathered in Fiji to exchange innovation in the use of satellite data, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), open source software and other tools that assist decision-making in land use and disaster management.

During the UN-led campaign for the 16 days of activism to end violence against women, SPC shared insights from our staff working across various sectors in an effort to raise awareness and generate further reflection and action in the Pacific.


We signed an agreement with Fiji National University for the further development, of a regional postgraduate certificate in Field Epidemiology, also known as the Pacific Data for Decision Making Training course, which will boost disease response in the Pacific Islands.

The inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Pacific Islands Maritime Conference was held in Vanuatu, signalling the merging of four regional maritime bodies.

SPC also signed a Grant Funding Arrangement with the Government of New Zealand to support the scientific and technical organisation’s continued delivery of development services to its member countries and territories over the next three years.

In December, we also launched our new-look website!

Useful link:
Part one of the Pacific Community 2016 Year in Review