By ILIESA TORA
Apia, Samoa – August 7, 2019: 4.40pm (Enviro News): The Pacific Meteorological Council members have been urged to work together to ensure mutual benefits for the people of the region and help in better accurate weather forecasting through their service.
Samoa’s Associate Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Taefu Lemi Taefu made the call while opening the 5th PMC meeting in Apia, Samoa this morning.
Highlighting the fact that the world is changing faster than ever with the changing climate, Mr Taefu said those changes “influence virtually all human activities, and the Pacific is no exception”.
Statistics shared show that since 1950 extreme events have affected approximately 9.2 million people in the Pacific.
That saw 9, 811 reported deaths, damages estimated to around US$3.2 billion.
Mr Taefu said it is not going to get any easier “and we expect intensifying of most extreme weather events, with the likelihood of more hydro-meteorological dasisters”.
“Collectively, as member countries and partners, you must continue to become fully involved at all levels, and use those capabilities and know-how for mutual benefit,” he said at the Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi (TATTE) Conference Centre.
“You must work together, to deploy your efforts in exchanging scientific expertise, that can be cited as an example for others on how the regional scientific and intellectual communities address problems of national, regional and global significance.
“I also emphasise the importance of your contributions to the various regional frameworks such as the Framework for Resilience Development (FPRP), Pacific Meteorological Strategy (PIMS), the Pacific Climate Change Centre program, and for the global frameworks, the Sendai and the most recent World Meteorology Organisation (WMO) reforms.”
Mr Taefu said the major lesson that came out of the Rio Summt is the need for “everyone to accept responsibility for improving his/her own condition and that of the world” needs to be a guide for the council as it meets.
The projected increase in category 5 cyclones will mean annual losses for many of the individual countries in the region.
“But it is indeed pleasing to see that after 25 years of hard work and commitment by the PMC significant progress and improvements in the science to better forecast extreme weather events, and predict future climate change projections with a high degree of accuracy, to mitigate these impacts, reduce the risk and enhance the safety and well-being of our Pacific people,” he added.
The meeting is under the theme “Science to Services for a Resilient Pacific”.
Meanwhile, Mary Power, Director Regional Offices and Development Activities World Meteorological Organization said the theme of “Science to Services for a Resilient Pacific” highlights the critical link between the role and work of the National Meteorology Hydrolgy Service services and national, regional and global resilience in the face of climate change.
She said the theme also highlights hydrology, and that operational hydrology in particular is a very important mandate of NMHSs and an area that possibly needs greater focus in this region.
And she reminded the participants of the importance of their services.
“Your services contribute to poverty reduction, sustainable development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. It also supports significantly, both directly and indirectly, the efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
She said that WMO recognizes the specific vulnerability of Small Island Development States in all its programmes and activities and reiterated the importance of the The Pacific Meteorology Desk Partnership.
She said the PMD Partnership is a vital component of the success to date and there have been discussions on need to strengthen this.
The WMO Representative Office for the South West Pacific is based at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme here in Apia.
She said the updated Pacific Island Meteorological Strategy 2017–2026 and its Road Map to sustainable Weather, Climate, Water and Ocean Services in Pacific Island Countries and Territories, and the work of the PMC Panels will help improve services.
Iliesa Tora is part of the Pacific Media team covering the 5th PMC under the SPREP initiative funded by the PMC/WMO.