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cosspac steering committee meeting

Climate science central to building resilient Pacific communities

22 May 2019, Rarotonga, Cook Islands - The crucial role of science to help informed decision making in the face of climate change was stressed during a gathering of Pacific Met Directors and partners in the Cook Islands today.

Meeting for the annual review of the Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific Phase 2, better known as COSPPac2.  The program works with Pacific island stakeholders to analyse and interpret climate, sea level data to produce valuable services for island communities.

This information helps Pacific island communities to prepare for, and mitigate the impacts of severe climate, tidal and oceanographic events.

“The Cook Islands have benefitted from numerous COSPPac activities since the project launched in 2012,” presented Hon Mac Mokoroa, Minister of Transport of the Cook Islands as he opened the meeting today.

“COSPPac is about more than just equipment.  One of the strengths of the project has been its investment in building skills and networks through in-country and regional trainings, ensuring the climate and ocean information reach the users in government, private sector, and communities who rely on them.”

The program has resulted in the Ocean Portal, the Seasonal Climate Outlooks in Pacific Islands Countries (SCOPIC), the Online Climate Outlook Forum (OCOF), Climate Data for the Environment (CliDE), Tide Calendars and Tidal information and sea level data as well as country specific activities such as the Malaria Early Warning System in Solomon Islands and the Water Storage Outlook Model in Samoa.

COSPPac2 is funded by the Australian Government and implemented by the Bureau of Meteorology.  It follows on from the first COSPPac from 2012 – 2018 with a continued project from 2018 – 2021.  Members also welcome the contribution from the government of New Zealand through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to support the development of CLiDEsc products and services.

The COSPPac2 works with many partners and agencies for delivery including DFAT, Geoscience Australia, the Pacific Community and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“The role of our Pacific Meteorological Directors and their contribution to the science that informs our climate change decision making is extremely valuable,” said Ms Tagaloa Cooper , Director of the Climate Change Resilience programme at SPREP.

“We must remember, scientific information collected for the pacific region  plays a role in helping to build the resilience of our Pacific islands people – the onus is on us to take this science and information and communicate it so people can prepare, and make informed decisions.”

Mr Thierry Nervale, Deputy Director of Oceans and Maritime of SPC echoed these sentiments.

“Science must be used, it is not sought or developed ‘just because’.  It is information that we can use to help guide our policies and decisions for  our Pacific island communities and COSPPac has an essential role to play in our work which strives to do this,” said Mr Nervale.

To learn more about the COSPPac2 please visit: http://cosppac.bom.gov.au/

The Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific Phase 2 Annual Program Performance Review and Planning Meeting and Steering Committee Meeting is held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from 22 – 24 May, 2019.

It brings together the National Meteorological Service Directors and Representatives from 14 Pacific, three Pacific Geospatial Council Members as well as partners and key stakeholders and collaborators from across the Pacific.