Participants of the COSPPac planning and steering committee meeting in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. Photo: SPREP
At the Planning and Steering Committee meetings for the Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) held this week in Tonga, the Australian Government confirmed that they will continue the excellent work of the programme into a second four year phase beginning 1 July 2018.
The aim of COSPPac is to enhance the capacity of Pacific Islands to manage and mitigate the impacts of climate variability and tidal events and working together with members to build tools that can forecast and report on climate, tides and the ocean. It will also determine how best to communicate this information to communities, businesses and Governments.
COSPPac is managed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and implemented in partnership with Geoscience Australia (GA), the Pacific Community (SPC), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
“We have seen tremendous successes under COSPPac over the last six years, including increased National Met Service staff capacity, competency and improved engagement with communities,” said the First Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Suva, Fiji and Chair of the COSPPac Steering Committee, Mr Ray Bojczuk.
“The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has a longstanding relationship with Pacific Island partners, so we are glad to be able to continue to work together to improve observations, reliability, and application of seasonal climate and ocean information throughout the region,” said the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s General Manager of Community Forecasts, Mr Neil Plummer.
Early warning of changes in rainfall, air and ocean temperatures and sea levels help farmers, fishermen, communities and governments to prepare for the season ahead. In addition, the Pacific Sea Level Monitoring Project has been critical to providing Pacific Islands with real-time sea level information and long-term trends.
“Geoscience Australia has an important role to play by providing information about movement of the land which needs to be considered when measuring changes in sea level,” said Acting Geodesy Section Leader, Mr Nicholas Brown.
Over the last six years, COSPPac has increasingly relied upon partners within the Pacific to develop and deliver COSPPac products and training to the region, including the Fiji Met Service, SPC and SPREP.
“As the home of the Pacific Met Council Partnership Desk, SPREP greatly values the tools and training that COSPPac has made available to the region,” said SPREP’s Director of Climate Change Resilience, Ms Tagaloa Cooper-Halo. “Even more important has been Australia’s commitment to transitioning many of these tools to the region which is important for sustainability and integration into other Met-related activities.”
“In addition to training and delivery of products and services like the Pacific Ocean Portal and annual tide calendars, SPC has been able to support regional technical governance through the Pacific Meteorological Council and the Pacific Geospatial and Surveying Council (PGSC) under COSPPac,” SPC’s Deputy Director for the Oceans and Maritime Programme, Mr Thierry Nervale reported.
COSPPac1 represents an investment of AUD $39 million from 2012-2018. Australia has committed AUD $23 million to COSPPac2, which will include continued support for the Pacific Sea Level and Geodetic Monitoring network, Climate and Oceans Seasonal Prediction, the Climate Database for the Environment (CliDE), and continued capacity development across these areas.
“We’re glad to see that the work of COSPPac will continue,” said Solomon Islands Deputy Director of Meteorology and Chair of the Pacific Met Council, Mr Lloyd Tahani. “Under COSPPac, Solomon Islands Met Service has developed an MOU with the Ministry of Health and we are now providing seasonal malaria outlooks to support government and community preparedness.”
“COSPPac has not only supported critical geodetic infrastructure for our region, but has provided seed funding to establish the Pacific Geospatial and Surveying Council and help us to get our regional strategy off the ground,” said Tonga’s CEO for Lands and Natural Resources and Chair of the Pacific Geospatial and Surveying Council, Ms Rosamond Bing. “We are happy that COSPPac2 can continue this important work, as surveying and geospatial services are critical to development decisions.”
COSPPac2 will continue to be managed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in partnership with Geoscience Australia, SPC and SPREP, and guided by the broader Australian Pacific Climate Change Action Plan (APCCAP), which seeks to improve Pacific Island resilience to disaster and climate challenges.
Molly Powers-Tora, Coordinator, Ocean Intelligence, E: [email protected] or T: +679 3249 250
Azarel Maiai, COSPPac Capacity Development Officer, E: [email protected] or T: +685 21929 ext 300