Pacific Meteorological Council Meeting returns with Fiji gathering after pandemic disruptions

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Preparations are underway for the 6th Meeting of the Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC-6) and associated meetings to be hosted by the Government of Fiji in August, the first face-to-face meeting of the PMC after two years of COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions.

PMC-6, the Third Pacific Ministerial Meeting on Meteorology (PMMM-3) and the First Development Partners and Donors Engagement Meeting are scheduled to be held in Denarau, Nadi, from 14 – 18 August 2023 respectively. The meetings, which are all interlinked, will be guided by the theme: “Sustaining Weather, Climate, Water and Ocean Services for a Resilient Blue Pacific.”

The meetings will gather Government Ministers, representatives from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in the Pacific, as well as those from development partners such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the private sector, to strengthen climate and weather services in the Pacific.

SPREP’s Director General, Sefanaia Nawadra, said providing support for the PMC and associated meetings is an important part of the Secretariat’s mandate to promote cooperation in the Pacific region and provide assistance in order to protect and improve our environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations.

“Our Pacific people are at the forefront of the impact of the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Our Pacific leaders have already declared a climate emergency, reaffirming that this is now the single greatest existential threat facing the Blue Pacific,” Nawadra said.

“According to the WMO, the world is on alert for the hottest year on record, and the Pacific is about to enter an episode of El Niño for the first time in seven years. In addition to the rise in global temperature caused by global heating this year, the emerging El Niño has set the scene for a spike in global temperatures and more disruptive weather and climate patterns.

“Effective climate services rely on close collaboration between the providers and users of climate information. The PMC-6 and associated meetings taking place in Fiji create a space specifically for Pacific people to have open discussions about challenges, and collectively look for solutions, which are crucial to sustaining livelihoods, supporting economic growth and saving lives.”

Originally formed in 1993 in Vanuatu as the Regional Meteorological Services Directors Meeting (RMSDM), the 14th RMSDM in the Republic of Marshall Island in 2011 changed the name of the meeting to the PMC and tasked it to facilitate and coordinate the scientific and technical programme and activities of the Regional Meteorological Services. The PMC provides policy-relevant advice to the SPREP Meeting on the needs and priorities of its member countries and territories in relation to meteorology (weather and climate) and related fields.

“The PMC meeting is crucial to the success of implementing the Pacific Roadmap for Strengthened Climate Services (PRSCS), which is a commitment to the improved delivery of climate services to the Pacific, and aligns with the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS),” said SPREP’s Director of Climate Change Resilience, Tagaloa Cooper. “It is also an important opportunity to network, share experiences and discuss the current and future status of weather, climate, water, ocean and emerging technologies which add value to traditional means of providing climate services.”

The last PMC Meeting (PMC-5) was hosted by Samoa in 2019. The Cook Islands was supposed to have hosted the 2021 meeting but this was not possible due to COVID-19. Nearly four years later, a lot has transpired in efforts to provide appropriate weather, climate, and early warning services to Pacific communities.

One of them is the Weather Ready Pacific Decadal Programme of Investment, a 10-year programme endorsed by Pacific leaders in 2021 to strengthen the region’s ability to anticipate, plan for, and respond to high impact and extreme weather, water, and ocean events.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports have been very clear. The world is not on course to meeting the 1.5 degree Celsius target that the Pacific is advocating,” said Cooper.

“As part of our work to prepare Pacific communities to better manage the adverse impacts of these extreme events, our role is to strengthen National Meteorological Service providers to ensure that forecasts and warnings are accurate and relevant, and that they are equipped with the necessary resources to tailor climate information for their countries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic took a massive toll on all Pacific countries and it impacted the way we work at the PMC but we are looking forward to meeting in person for the first time in Fiji.”

The Sixth Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC-6), the Third Pacific Ministerial Meeting on Meteorology (PMMM-3) and the First Development Partners and Donors Engagement Meeting are held in Nadi, Fiji respectively from 14 – 18 August 2023.

They follow a range of pre-PMC meetings held in Nadi Fiji from 7 – 12 August 2023.

To find out more about the PMC, click: https://www.pacificmet.net/pmc

For more information on the PMC-6 please visit the Pacific Met Desk website https://www.pacificmet.net/pmc-6-2023 or email sprep@sprep.org

SOURCE: SPREP/PACNEWS