24 July 2015: The First Pacific Ministerial Meeting on Meteorology held here in Nuku’alofa today has adopted 25 points they believe will ensure that National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) have the necessary capacity to support sustainable development in the region.
The ‘Nuku’alofa Ministerial Declaration for Sustainable Weather and Climate Services for a Resilient Pacific’ was adopted by Ministers and representatives from American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands,Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, the United States of America and Vanuatu.
The 25 point Nuku’alofa Ministerial Declaration has the backing of the Ministers, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
It calls for support from governments, development partners and donors.Some of the points included in the Nuku’alofa Ministerial Declaration are:
The Declaration is a statement of the political will to support the development of weather, climate, water and related environmental services in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), fully taking into account national development priorities, regional and global meteorological strategies and other relevant frameworks.
The Declaration recognizes the vital importance of NMHSs and their mission as stated in the Convention of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in providing meteorological, hydrological and related services in support of relevant national needs, including protection of life and property, sustainable development and safeguarding the environment.
The Declaration recognizes the importance of timely and accurate weather and climate information to aviation to ensure the highest standards for flight safety, reduction of the environmental impacts of aviation and increasing efficiency of all traffic operations.
The Declaration is a commitment by the PICTs’ NMHSs role in the development of effective methods for the provision of services to aviation to meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and WMO requirements including Quality Management System (QMS) implementation, in line with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 series of quality assurance standards and competency standards.
The Declaration includes calls for support from SPREP, the University of the South Pacific and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and other regional organizations, WMO and development partners on the speedy implementation of the Pacific Roadmap on Strengthening Climate Services in the Pacific region.
It also calls on the exploring of possibilities for the establishment and operation of a Regional Climate Centre (RCC), a WMO Regional Training Center (RTC), the development of regional research capacity and the staging of future annual Pacific Island Climate Outlook Forum (PICOF).
The Declaration acknowledges the support of the Government of Fiji to its Meteorological Service to perform its function as the WMO designated Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre for Tropical Cyclones and as the Meteorological Watch Office for the Nadi Flight Information Region.
The Declaration stated that the Pacific Ministerial Meeting be held every four years and expressed appreciation to the Government of Tonga for hosting the first-ever meeting.
The meeting was opened by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Tupouto’a Ulukalala and chaired by Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minster Hon Siaosi Sovaleni, who is also the Minister responsible for Climate Change and Meteorology.
Meteorological Directors and senior officers from the region had met earlier for four-days and finalized the Declaration on Thursday night before tabling that at the Ministerial Meeting.