20 July 2015, Nuku’alofa, Tonga – The Third Pacific Meteorological Council opened in the Kingdom of Tonga today bringing together over 100 Pacific Met Directors, partners and stakeholders to strengthen the path ahead for Pacific Meteorology under the theme – “Sustainable Weather and Climate Services for a Resilient Pacific.”
This event reaches a historic milestone in that it will be followed by the very first Pacific Ministers Meeting on Meteorology.
“Our capacity to manage natural hazard impacts and bounce back and improve our development pathways through timely and accurate weather, climate and water services makes it necessary to improve the capacities of National Meteorology and Hydrological Services in the Pacific region,” said the Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni, the Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga as he opened the four day event.
“There is an urgent need to improve infrastructure and human resources to enable National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to make the most of advances in science and technology to improve weather, climate water and related environmental services.”
The aim of the PMC is to help coordinate facilitation of meterological services in support of development agendas, contributing to the strengthening of community resilience. It will also discuss ways to continue to implement the Pacific Island Meteorological Strategy.
This is the third meeting of Pacific Met Directors (PMC-3) and partners under the auspices of the PMC, prior to this the biannual gathering was held under the Regional Meteorological Services Directors Meeting which first began in Vanuatu in 1993. The last event hosted by Tonga was the 9th RMSD in Neiafu, Vavau in 2003.
The last PMC was held in Fiji in 2013.
“I would like to say that a lot of progress, achievements and contributions have been made collectively as a region and by each and every one of your National Meteorological Services to safeguard the well being of our people in the Pacific,” said Dr Netatua Pelesikoti the Director of the Climate Change Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), currently home to the Pacific MetDesk Partnership.
“I am sure the weather events continue to stretch the operations of our National Meteorological Services and will continue to reshape them to ensure they are effective, relevant and resilient which leads us to the theme of this meeting; Sustainable Weather and Climate Services for a Resilient Pacific”
The Pacific Meteorological Council will take place from 20 – 23 July, followed by the very first Meeting of Pacific Ministers of Meteorology on 24 July. It is there that the way forward will be paved, to continue strengthening the Meteorological Services in the Pacific islands.
“Small Islands Developing States and their people have often demonstrated leadership in calling for determined and urgent action to address climate change and build resilience and adaptation to weather and climate extremes,” said Dr Elena Maneankova, the Assistant Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
“For the first time the council will be followed by the first Ministerial meeting, an extraordinary opportunity to enhance the contribution of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to the sustainable development of Pacific countries.”
Globally 90 per cent of natural disasters are caused by weather and climate related hazards. In the Pacific, the majority of hazards are weather and climate related. Cyclones accounted for 76 per cent of reported disasters from 1950 to 2004 followed by earthquakes, droughts and floods.
The Finland-Pacific Project which spans across the Pacific region aims at reducing the vulnerability of Pacific communities to the impacts of climate change through strengthening the capabilities of Pacific Meteorological Services.
“The experience of the vast ranging global collaboration of Finnish Met Service is that the capacity building activities between two sister Met Services are best based on peer learning through concrete development actions,” said Dr. Matti Nummelin, Senior Environmental Adviser for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
“Actions like in this region, implemented by restoring weather and climate observations, creating new weather, climate and early warning services, establishing Quality Management auditing teams as well as by creating and increasing commercial revenue for national met-services.”
The Third Pacific Meteorological Council and the Pacific Ministerial Meeting on Meteorology is a culmination of partnerships between the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, the Government of Finland through its partnership with SPREP under the FINPAC Project, the World Meteorological Organization, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The Pacific Meteorological Council Meeting and the Pacific Ministers Meteorology Meeting is held at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.
For more information on the PMC-3 please visit: http://pacificclimatechange.net/index.php/pmc