Building Pacific region capacity to observe, analyse and apply ocean data

Participants from across the Pacific and ocean science experts from around the world will convene in Noumea to take part in a regional workshop aimed at building capacity and awareness on ocean processes, ocean observations and data applications, as well as advancing the design and coordination of a Pacific Islands ocean observation network.

The Pacific Islands are “Large Ocean States” spanning an area larger than the African continent, yet just 2% of the region is land set in the Pacific Ocean.

The ocean is essential to Pacific Islanders’ way of life, and the region is renowned for its seafaring history and use of traditional knowledge, for example, for navigation. Yet oceanographic capacity is limited within the Pacific Islands region, and generally resides within local meteorological services.

However, there is a strong interest in increasing capacity to collect, analyse, and communicate the latest oceanographic data across a number of sectors such as meteorology and climate services, fisheries, marine trade and tourism. Increasing capacity in these sectors will contribute to improving the livelihoods of Pacific people, and allow them to more effectively engage in the global ocean community.

Day one of the workshop will be a meeting of the Pacific Island Marine and Ocean Services Panel (PIMOS Panel). This panel was established by the Third Meeting of the Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC) in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, in 2015.

The panel’s purpose is to provide technical advice to the PMC on matters related to marine and ocean services, with an emphasis on oceanography and marine meteorology, to strengthen coastal multi-hazard early warning systems, national preparedness and maritime safety support mechanisms at the national and regional level.

These priorities are set out in the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy and other international and regional frameworks such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the S.A.M.O.A Pathway.

This meeting is organised by the Joint World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) in coordination with the French Institute for Research and Development (IRD) and the Pacific Community (SPC).

The training is also made possible by support from New Caledonia Meteorological Service, South Pacific Observatory (GOPS), EU- PACENET-plus, Pacific Island GOOS (PIGOOS), Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac), China’s National Center of Ocean Standards and Metrology of (NCOSM), World Meteorological Organization (WMO)/Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), USA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Climate Observation (OCO).

Currently there is a growing international awareness of the importance of the oceans, for example, highlighted at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, and previously at the 3rd UN SIDS conference in Samoa.

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