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Media critical partner in Pacific MET services

Volume 5 Issue 153

Wednesday - August 15, 2019



Apia, Samoa (Nuku’alofa Times/Enviro News): The media must become critical partners in the regional meteorology work, the Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme said in Apia, Samoa last week. Speaking after the opening session of the 5th Pacific Meteorological Council meeting here at the Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi (TATTE) Conference Centre on August 7, Mr Kosi Latu said the media and the PMC should work together in ensuring that weather information is shared with members of the public. “This is critical to help in ensuring that we are able to carry out our mandate responsibly as meteorology services in our nationals and regional countries,” Mr Latu said. “It is important for the media to understand the information we have and also know about the work that we are doing.” While delivering his keynote address at the opening session Mr Latu said the PMC meeting this week will have a lot of media presence. “This PMC is also going to be well covered as we have a strong presence of the local and regional media and broadcasters,” Mr Latu said. “Radio New Zealand, the Pacific Media Network, the Pacific Environment Journalists Network and from time to time, we will be joined by regional journalist attending the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union workshop and trainings. “I encourage you to tell your stories. PMC proceedings and outcomes will be communicated

Regional MET Officers with media trainers following the Media Mana Class at the Sheraton Aggie Grey’s Hotel in Apia on August 3. (Below) SPREP Director General Kosi Latu speaking at the opening ceremony of the 5th PMC, commending the media in the process. Photos: SPREP

(almost real time) around the Pacific. This is supported by SPREP and the WMO (World Meteorology Organisaton).” Outgoing PMC Chairman and the Director of Solomon Island Meteorological Service, Mr. David Hiba, also made the call for working partnerships between the media and the PMC. “Having the media understand the work we do, the information we have and helping us share that with people is very, very important,” he said. “We need training and assistance in how best we can use the media to share our information and messages and at the same time we also need the media to understand the work we do, the process and also

the information so they can share them accurately.” As part of the efforts to help weather forecasters/ meteorology officers, hydrologists and geologists understand the media better SPREP organised a media Mana training as part of the pre-council meeting. Regional journalists Lisa Williams of PMN, Moera Tuilaepa of RNZ and Iliesa Tora of the PEJN were trainers with the SPREP Media team led by Nanette Woonton. The 5th PMC was opened by Samoa’s Associate Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Taefu Lemi Taefu. - Coverage of the 5th PMC funded by the PMC/ WMO/SPREP.

Page 02 - Wednesday, August 15, 2019

Local News

Nuku’alofa Times

Tonga MET eyes reform to better service stakeholders

Apia, Samoa (Nuku’alofa Times): The Tonga Meteorological Department recognizes the need for more specialized and quality meteorological information at a time where weather and climate related hazards are at a record high. And to this end the department has proposed a structural reform to help them meet the service demands. The President of the World Meteorology Organisation Region 5 and Director of Meteorology Ofa Fa’anunu made the comments while presenting the “TONGA METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE COUNTRY REPORT - Reporting on National Priority Actions of the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy (PIMS) 2017-2026” at the 5th Pacific Meteorological Council meeting, which got underway here in Apia, Samoa on August 7. The meeting was held at the TATTE Conference Centre. “Due to the rapid growth of Tonga’s Meteorology Department and the need for more specialized and quality meteorological information in a time where weather and climate related

hazards are at a record high there is a real need to reform organizational structure for the Meteorology department under the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Communications and Climate Change (MEIDECC),” Mr Fa’anunu said.

Reform needs These reforms are necessary for the Meteorology Department to perform its functions under the Meteorology Act of 2017 as well as implement multi-million dollar projects in multi-hazard early warning systems. It is als timely with the organizational reform currently happening with the WMO. Mr Fa’anunu said this is necessary to improve efficiency (more dynamic decision making) to improve resource use and funding mechanisms and for better service development. The reform is aimed to meet the increased scope of activities expected of the MET Service to support resilient development priorities of Government in response to weather and climate, which has more emphasis on user focused

services and better use of in-house resources. “Organizational restructuring is needed to have the capacity to deal with the large number of projects that the Met Service is engaged with and special consideration of customer needs for improved quality of services,” he said. The requirement to use the science, (turning science into services) and carry out research on specific areas of interest for development that will strengthen services and the need for upgrades to systems (e.g. Automatic Weather Stations) and communications to meet capacity needs of the Met Service are also two key areas. “Structural reform is required to establish the career paths that will facilitate and enhance the growth of the MET Office. There is also a need to upgrade the MET Officer In Charge (OIC) positions in all the outer islands to reflect the functions of National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) that are carried out by the MET OIC in those islands, particularly for ‘Eua and the Niuas,” Mr Fa’anunu said. Meeting SDGs

Tonga MET Director Ofa Fa’anunu presenting Tonga’s report (above) and attending the PMC Meeting (below) in Apia. Photos: SPREP

Mr Fa’anunu said Tonga MET focuses on providing accurate, timely and reliable weather forecast and warnings, marine/ocean weather forecasts and warnings, weather observations, climate data and predictions and coastal maritime information communicated to stakeholders. The service also contributes to three out of the seven TSDF National Outcomes which connects ultimately to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This includes: • A more inclusive, sustainable and responsive good-governance with law and order • A more inclusive, sustainable and successful provision and maintenance of infrastructure and technology • A more inclusive, sustainable and effective land administration, environment management, and resilience to climate and risk Future needs Mr Fa’anunu also highlighted some of the future needs that the Meteorology Department has identified to help improve the National Meteorological Services. This includes the need to establish/recruit more meteorologists to the forecasting

section so that Tonga is able to provide its own forecasting services to Aviation, which is still done in Fiji. Other areas identified include the development of Marine forecast and services, establishment and encouragement research capacity development, establish Meteorology regulations for QMS, Cost Recovery, and Qualifications of personnel, improve and enhance Severe Weather and Tropical Cyclone Warnings/Trainings, improve Earthquake and Tsunami Standard Operating Procedures and develop and better co-ordinate hydrological services. Government support was also commended, with Mr Fa’anunu highlighting the increased budget allocations and funding. He also revealed that Tonga MET is serious about gender balance, with special attention now on female officers who can be recruited into the service. Mr Fa’aunu led Team Tonga at the 5th Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC) meeting and also several other key important Pre-PMC events. These events included : • IMPACT Regional Workshop on IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and

Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) • Next Generation of Climate Change Projections for the Pacific & PIETR Panel Meeting • Women Leadership in Meteorology & Hydrology Workshop • Mana Class Communication Training for Met Directors not attending Women Leadership in Meteorology & Hydrology Workshop • Mana Class Communication Training for Participants to the Women Leadership in Meteorology • 3rd Meeting of the CREWS Pacific SIDS Project Steering Committee He is also attending the meeting as the new President of World Meteorological Organization Regional Association V (WMO RAV), which looks after the Asia/Pacific region. He was backed by Director Geology Taniela Kula, Chief Meteorologist Laitia Fifita, Senior Forecaster Selu Finaulahi and Assistant Geologist Folauhola Latuila. * This report was funded by SPREP/WMO and the PMC as part of the Pacific Media Mana Class coverage of the event

Wednesday - August 15, 2019

Nuku’alofa Times - Page 03

Local News

SPREP’s Robert McIntosh presenting on the ocean acidification threats at the 5th PMC meeting in Apia (above left) and corals stand threaten from increasing ocean acidification (above right). Meanwhile, SPREP staff with the message of the need to have science become part of the Pacific service. Photos: SPREP

Ocean acidification threats real


Apia, Samoa (Nuku’alofa Times/Eviro News): Ocean acidification in the region is real and there must be some urgency on the monitoring, researching and response to the issue, the 5th Pacific Meteorological Council meeting here in Apia last week heard. Presenting an update on the “Oceans Acidification in the Pacific” at the TATTE Conference Centre on Thursday (August 8), Robert McIntosh of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) said the PMC needs to design a path forward to tackle the issue. Ocean acidification is affecting marine life and future predictions points to possible loss of tuna and coral if the situation does not change. He said the last PMC meeting in the Solomon Islands in 2017 had endorsed “the inclusion of marine climate change and ocean acidification as a priorities”. “The PMC has to recognise the urgency of monitoring, researching and responding to ocean acidification at both national and regional scales, and the value the PMC, National Meteorology Hydrology Services (NMHS), SPREP, Pacific Community (SPC), University of the South Pacific (USP), and other partners can add by helping coordinate and advocate for that work,” he said. “We recommend that PMC design a path forward that defines the roles PMC and NMHS wish to take with respect to monitoring, researching, and/or coordinating responses to ocean acidification.” Mr McIntosh recommended that national governments and appropriate national agencies establish baseline monitoring necessary to capture natural variability in ocean carbon chemistry and understand long-term trend, and that future ocean observation platforms include ocean acidification monitoring. He also recommended that the PMC coordinate national inventories of ocean acidification work currently underway in each country and of needs for addressing the issue, with an aim towards advocating for more donor support for regional-scale work to address those needs. Mr McIntosh highlighted the work that is currently being done in the region in relation to ocean acidification. This includes the: 1. PPOA: The New Zealand-Pacific Partnership on Ocean Acidification (PPOA) project is a collaborative effort between SPREP, USP and SPC to build resilience to ocean acidification in Pacific island communities and ecosystems with financial support from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the government of the Principality of Monaco. The PPOA project was developed to address needs identified during the 3rd UN Small Island Developing States Conference held in Apia, Samoa in 2014 and is focused on i) research and monitoring, ii) capacity building and awareness raising, and iii) implementing practical adaptation actions. 2. PI-TOA: The Pacific Islands and Territories Ocean Acidification network (PI-TOA) is a regional hub of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOAON). GOA-ON is a collaborative international network to document the status and progress of ocean acidification in open-ocean, coastal, and estuarine environments, to understand the drivers and impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems, and to provide spatially and temporally resolved biogeochemical data necessary to optimize modelling for ocean acidification. To date, PPOA, in partnership with the Ocean Foundation, has sponsored ocean acidification trainings and distributed “GOA-ON in a Box” OA monitoring kits for

11 Pacific scientists from 8 Pacific island countries. As capacity for ocean acidification monitoring increases in the region, there is an increasing need for collaboration and communication among the various islands and territories, for which PI-TOA provides a platform. PI-TOA members are currently involved in researching and monitoring OA at USP and at national universities and research stations around the region. 3. KIOST: The Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) is currently establishing OA monitoring (MAPCO2) buoys in Pacific island countries including Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Samoa. Samoa Met is currently in discussions with Samoan government regarding establishing a national-level body for coordinating OA work in Samoa. What is Ocean Acidification? SPREP says that our global ocean absorbs approximately 30% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere. This CO2 combines with seawater to produce carbonic acid, turning the seawater more acidic and depleting the seawater of carbonate that many forms of sea life need to build their shells. CO2 is an acid gas, so the addition of CO2 to the ocean from burning fossil fuels is making seawater more acidic; we call this process “ocean acidification.” Understanding ocean acidification As the ocean absorbs CO2, the CO2 combines with seawater forming carbonic acid. The carbonic acid quickly dissociates into hydrogen ions and bicarbonate ions. Some of the hydrogen ions then combine with naturally occurring carbonate ions to form more bicarbonate. This reduces the concentration of carbonate in the seawater. A reduction in carbonate concentration is bad because carbonate is an important building block for sea life that builds calcium carbonate shells and skeletons, such as calcifying plankton and algae, clams, sea urchins, and corals. This chemical reaction also results in decreasing the seawater’s pH. pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions, also known as acidity; the lower the pH, the higher the concentration of hydrogen ions, and the more acidic the water. Ocean acidification is happening now

For the last 20 million years, the pH of the ocean has remained relatively stable between approximately 8.1 and 8.2. Over the last 200 years, as humans have accelerated the burning of fossil fuels, the ocean’s average surface pH has decreased by 0.11, representing a 28% increase in acidity since the start of the industrial revolution. Hence, ocean acidification is not a problem expected to occur in the future, ocean acidification is already happening and being observed now. Projections for the end of this century indicate that our oceans’ surface waters could be 150 times more acidic than pre-industrial revolution. This would result in an ocean that is more acidic than at any time over the last 20 million years. It would also mean a change in pH that is 100 times faster than at any time in the past. Why is ocean acidification a problem? It reduces the ocean’s concentration of carbonate. With decreasing seawater saturation of carbonate, marine life, including calcifying plankton and algae, clams, sea urchins, and corals, will find it difficult to build their skeletons and shells.

This will lead to a reduction in the growth rates of many of these creatures. One study projects that by 2050, coral reefs will dissolve faster than they can build their skeletons. Loss of coral reefs will mean loss of critical habitat for important seafood species and would result in increased rates of coastal erosion. This will have a huge impact on ocean and coastal ecosystems, including coral reef ecosystems, shellfish, and plankton – the basis of the food web. Ocean acidification threatens our biodiversity. Eventually this will affect livelihoods, food security, and indigenous cultural practices and traditions. Many species of fish could be affected A study that looked at ocean acidification effects on yellowfin tuna found that larvae reared at decreasing pH levels (pH 8.1, 7.6, 7.3 and 6.9) showed increasing organ damage in the kidney, liver, pancreas, eye and muscle, which correlated with decreased growth and survival. A loss of fisheries productivity would threaten national economies that are highly dependent on fisheries resources, particularly Pacific islands. Fish is a cornerstone of food security for the people of the Pacific – fish provide 50–90% of animal protein in the diet of coastal communities across a broad spectrum of Pacific islands, and national fish consumption per person in many Pacific islands is more than 3–4 times the global average Ocean acidification adds to stress Ocean acidification adds to other stresses coral reefs face, like ocean warming and coral bleaching Ocean acidification can be considered a “stress multiplier” for coral reefs, as it combines with other stresses that corals are currently facing, e.g., rising sea surface temperatures, increasing frequency and duration of bleaching events, increasing intensity of tropical cyclones, overfishing, destructive fishing methods, and land-based sources of pollution. Loss of coral reefs would mean loss of critical habitats for important seafood species and would result in increased rates of coastal erosion, since coral reefs are known to reduce 97% of wave energy that would otherwise impact shorelines. Additionally, loss of reefs would pose a financial threat to the tourism industry of many islands. Note: Iliesa Tora was part of the SPREP Pacific Media team covering the 5th Pacific Meteorological Council meeting here in Apia, Samoa. His trip was funded by the PMC/World Meteorology/SPREP.

Page 04 - Wednesday - August 15, 2019

Role of media acknowledged


Nuku’alofa Times

Fiji MET eyes upgrade and more women

APIA (SPREP): The role of media in amplifying the messages and services of Pacific National Meteorological Services (NMHSs) was acknowledged last Friday by the Pacific Meteorological Council during its Fifth meeting in Apia, Samoa at the TATTE (Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi) Convention Centre. The involvement of the media at PMC meetings in past years as well as this year, has played a crucial role in building and maintaining strong relations between journalists, reporters, and Pacific Met Services and staff. Nanette Woonton, Acting Adviser of Communications and Outreach Unit of SPREP highlighted the communications and media work through the SPREP Media Outreach programme was only made possible due to the support of the many partners over the past decade. This year for the first time SPREP held Mana Classes to build the communication skills for Pacific Met Directors and Pacific women in Met in the areas of radio, social media and an empowered voice. These Mana Classes reflect the spirit of “Pacific Islanders uplifting Pacific Islanders.” “We have had many Pacific Islanders undergo our training through our media outreach programme and as such are using Pacific Island trainers who have a strong understanding of our Pacific cultural space. We are working with those who have we have either invested in to build their capacity – or come well equipped with skills – to work in Pacific island training,” said Woonton. The trainers of the Mana Classes represented the Pacific Environment Journalists Network (PEJN), Radio New Zealand (RNZ) and Pacific Media Network (PMN), and who were also present during PMC-5 to provide media coverage of the meeting throughout the Pacific region. All trainers are Pasifika people representing Fiji/ Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. “We are truly grateful for the time allocated for us to carry out these Mana Classes in the days prior to PMC-5, and we would like to continue this work to help you build other communications skills, and help bridge the gap between you our Pacific Met Directors and our Climate Change Practitioners, and our Pacific islands media organisations and their CEO’s,” said Woonton. “While we train journalists and reporters, we note that it is the CEO’s of media organisations that make the decisions. And so our hope is to provide the right platform to bring you all together so you can make better decisions on how to move forward together.” Woonton also expressed gratitude towards the PMC, Met Directors and officials during the PMC meeting opening for their acknowledgement and welcoming of the media present. “It gave me a lot of pride to hear during the opening to hear our Met Directors and our key people welcoming the media because it is not often we hear that at big official meetings such as the PMC. Thank you.” The PMC-5 meeting was held from 7 to 9 August in Apia, Samoa.

The NUKU’ALOFA TIMES is published once a week for Tonga by NUKU’ALOFA TIMES MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS of Kolofo’ou, Tongatapu KINGDOM OF TONGA Associate Editor: ALFRED TORA Consultant: ILIESA TORA EMail: Phone: +676 8467762 Correspondences in Tonga, the Region and the World © 2019 Nuku’alofa TImes Media and Public Relations.

Fiji MET Director Misaeli Funaki at the 5th PMC meeting in Apia, Samoa. He says the organisation is now recruiting more qualified women in an open merit system. Photo: SPREP

By ILIESA TORA Apia, Samoa (Nuku’alofa Times/Enviro News): More women are being recruited into the Fiji Meteorological Services as the organisation supports the move to have more qualified gender balance within its service. Director Misaeli Funaki made the comments while presenting the “Fiji Meteorological Service Country Report - Reporting on National Priority Actions of the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy(PIMS) 2017 – 2026” at the 5th Pacific Meteorological Services meeting here in Apia on August 6. And he stressed that the FMS will continue to strive for excellence in service in all areas of weather forecasting, not only for Fiji but for the region as well. “The FMS also recognizes the importance of gender equality in the workplace and we recruit based on an open and meritorious recruit system. We have found that in doing so, more female are applying to join our organization,” he said. In 2017 FMS had 22 female staff. This was 18.9% of the total staffing – a ratio of almost one (1) female to five (5) males. This year the FMS has a total of 33 female staff. “This is 25.3 percent or a ratio of 1 in 4,” he said. Majority of the staff in the forecasting Divisions now hold the Basic Instruction Package for Meteorological Technician (QI) or the Senior Observer Technician qualifications while all the forecasters have already completed the Meteorologist course (WMO class 1) and have undergone competency assessments. “FMS recognizes its prosperity lies with the capacity and capability of their staff and will continue with capacity building initiatives within the FMS staff, which is one of main priority and we see that will further improve the quality of the product and service provided tour customers and the regional countries,” Mr Funaki said. In this regard, the FMS will develop new training courses based on the needs of the region, explore the possibility of establishing the Regional Training Centre with collaboration with the University of the South Pacific, World Meteorology Organisation, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and affiliated universities. Mr Funaki said the FMS will continually progress towards meeting the PMC-4 endorsement of hosting the Regional Instrument Calibration in collaboration with partners and relevant departments of WMO Secretariat. “The Fiji Meteorological Services recognizes the importance of creating an enabling environment for growth. As , over the last few months, the Fiji MET service has been working closely with our line ministry to align our deliverables with the five (5) year and 20 year Fiji National Development Plan,” he said. “I urge the members of the PMC to do the same.” The Fiji Meteorological Service is one of departments within the Ministry of Disaster Management and Meteorological Services (MDMMS), the other being the National Disaster Management Office. The Ministry is under the portfolio of the Honorable Jone Usamate. Honourable Usamate is also the Minister responsible for the Ministry of

Infrastructure and Transport. Mr Funaki said this set up is to better integrate the services that support disaster preparedness, response and recovery to natural disasters in Fiji. “In light of the above, the Ministry is formed to working seamlessly to coordinate emergency response operations in the aftermath of a disaster. This is to improve Fiji’s resilience to natural disasters and other severe effects of climate change,” Mr Funaki said. “Under the Meteorology Portfolio, the ministry will provide timely and reliable weather, hydrology and climate information directly to the public to improve overall preparedness before a disaster strikes.” The FMS manages its operations both at the national and regional levels with 151 staff and has re-organized its structure to cater for the changing scope of meteorology in light of International conventions such as the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals. In their effort to improve their work Mr Funaki said the FMS will continue to pursue to finalize the Strategic Development Plan and get Cabinet approval of the Meteorology and Hydrology Act, which is currently before the Parliament Standing Committee for Natural Resources. Acknowledging government’s financial support, Mr Funaki said that over the last FMS has had a budget of between FJD $9 – FJD $11 million annually. “The continuous support of the Fiji Government has enabled FMS to continually improve on its services and deliverables. The vision is to become a world class organization”. One of the major highlights for the FMS is the provisional certification by the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) to be the Aviation Meteorological Service provider for air navigation and Climate Service, under the ISO 9001 standards. On the 20th and 21st of August this year, the Fiji Meteorological Service will be audited by TelArc against the ISO 9001:2015 standard. “In contributing to the priority areas outlined on pacific island meteorological strategy, Fiji Meteorological and in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requirements, FMS is upgrading its forecasting system to the IBL system. This allows us to comply with the ICAO IWXXM requirement, He said the FMS will also work with the different MET agencies in the region in formulating service level agreements on the services they provide to some countries in the region. At the same time he said the FMS realises the need for multi-hazard early warning system and are working closely with the Disaster Management Office in Fiji. The FMS is also working on implementing the Flood Forecasting Guidance System(FFGS) and the Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project(CIFDP-F) towards the end of this year. Mr Funaki led the Fiji MET team at the 5th PMC meeting in Apia, which closed on August 9. Note: Iliesa Tora was part of the SPREP Pacific Media team that covered the 5th Pacific Meteorological Council meeting in Apia, Samoa. His trip was funded by the PMC/ World Meteorology/SPREP.

Wednesday - August 15 2019

Nuku’alofa Times - Page 05

Kiribati calls for regional assistance

Apia, Samoa (Nuku’alofa Times/Enviro News): It is more effective to have the regional meteorology services work together and help each other rather than having consultants, the Kiribati Meteorological Services has said in a report presented in Apia on August 6. Director Ueneta Toorua said areas such as certification of services to bring them up to par with the others should be done regionally. He said this while presenting on the “KIRIBATI METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE COUNTRY REPORT - Reporting on National Priority Actions of the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy (PIMS) 2017-2026” at the 5th Pacific Meteorological Council meeting at the TATTE Conference Centre. He said this was a critical issue that needs to be addressed, something which has been lacking in the past. “There are also limited opportunities and support to enable National Meteorology and Hydrology Services within the PMC region to help or assists each other which sometimes more effective rather than having an international or national consultants,” he said.

“The good example is on certification where countries who are quite ahead in terms of their certification assists other national meteorological services to bring them to the level they are at in terms of provision of training, advice on how they go about it and sharing documentations.” Mr Toorua said that over the last two years it has been proven that early warning on severe weather events in Kiribati needs to be improved. “This is an area that we need to seriously work on,” he said. “More training and capacity building in the weather observation and forecasting area is always a need for a small meteorological services like the KMS who just started to localise those services with limited experiences. “However, once training and capacity building is completed, it is sometimes quite meaningless when there is no proper or limited infrastructure and equipment on the ground. In this regard, it should always go hand in hand, capacity building and improving and investing in infrastructure, equipment and tools.” Kiribati MET also

Kiribati MET Director Ueneta Toorua (left) at the 5th PMC Meeting in Apia. Photo: SPREP

identified the high costs involved in upgrading services, especially as the provision of more products and services means opening window for more operational cost. “That is quite difficult to justify, especially when the information given have no dollar value added to it. In this regard, the move into having cost recovery for Meteorological service is a good approach to overcome the over spending and extra financial support that may be required from time to time,” he added. The KMS is currently a

division under the Office of the President (Office of Te Beretitenti), with 32 staff. Having had their share of challenges earlier on since establishment in 1989, the MET service grew in recognition when Kiribati became a member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and started to partner in a number of long term Australian program such as Sea level, Climate Services and Climate Change programs. “The scope of work and services provided by KMS started to expand and moving from data collection to

data analysis and developing and disseminating information such as seasonal climate outlook, tide prediction, climate projections, drought monitoring and so forth,” Mr Toorua said. “That significant increase in number of KMS products, services and participation and advise in national committees enable the Government to acknowledge the role and services of KMS in terms of Disaster risk reduction and Climate change adaptation but not to the extend like other Meteorological

Service in countries that are prone to Cyclones, Tsunami and other destructive hazards. “ Plans are in place to work on a Meteorology Act and the KMS is also working on revising its Strategic and Implementation Plan 2014-2019. Mr Toorua said the ‘Kiribati Development Plan 2016-2019, Priority Area No 4’ focuses on the Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, which directly links the work that the KMS does to the national development plan. And the Kiribati long term plan – the Kiribati Vision in the next 20 years (KV 20) - includes the weather and climate monitoring service under its Pillar 2 “Peace and Security”. “That means for us to have our Weather and Climate monitoring system to be 100% by 2036, contributing to improve Peace and Security and that should be more on Early Warning system,” he added. Note: Iliesa Tora was part of the SPREP Pacific Media team covering the 5th Pacific Meteorological Council meeting here in Apia, Samoa. His trip wasfunded by the PMC/World Meteorology/SPREP.

Wednesday - August 15, 2019

Nuku’alofa Times


Korea (Young Writers): With a beaming smile Noelani Day spoke to me after her 28.67 in The Women’s 50m Freestyle at The World Championships. Noelani was keen to point out the significance of that time. “My time was 28.67 which I’m really happy with because it’s a personal best. I think the Tongan girl (Irene Prescott) from the last Olympics, she swam a time of the 28.68, so I beat it by one hundredth of a second. I’m really happy about that.” Speaking about the challenges of a 50m race and the added pressure that includes, she said;“Especially on a 50m, because if you make one little mistake, that’s a millisecond gone, and that makes the difference between you and the next person.” It’s been a busy recent schedule for Day, after quite a sporting month or so. “The last month has been absolutely crazy, at the Pacific Games, I actually did 3 sports, when I got off the plane here my body was just dead. My mom who is my coach said this is the last one so just push it.” There have been many positives for Noelani Day this week but what has been the best thing about competing in her first World Championships representing Tonga? “I have to say its been the performances, just being with the team, especially after the Pacific Games I didn’t expect to do as well as I did here. You forget how young 16 year old Noelani Day actually is when you speak to her, with a level of maturity on display far beyond her years. The reality will set in now as Day heads home filled with positivity of spectacular performances at The World Championships.


It was the turn of the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle teams to take to the water on day 7 of the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The Tongan team were in the 2nd heat and were made up of swimmers, Finau Ohuafi, Noelani Day, Charissa Panuve and Amini Fonua. Naturally, they were all smiles in the interview area afterward, having claimed a National Record of 4 minutes 8.19 seconds for their country. Panuve spoke for the team on their satisfaction; “We’re happy with that, everyone did pretty good splits. We are always taking each other on, but it’s always nice to race with each other. Be a team together.” It was a particularly impressive performance bearing in mind that they rarely get chance to swim together as they train in different regions. The team got off to a great start with Ohuafi completing the 1st leg of the 100m in 56.67 seconds. It was a pleasing time for him; “Before I started, I thought can I hit 56 seconds. Then I finished and looked at the board and thought wow! I was pretty happy to hit that 56 seconds.” Noelani Day was also happy with her 100m leg of 1 minute 6.50 seconds; “ Yes I’m pretty happy with that, it’s around my personal best!” Panuve clocked 1 minute 8.37 seconds; “It felt a bit messy, but I know where I need to improve on. It’s good, I’m happy with it.” Amini Fonua brought home the last leg in a fine time of 56.65 seconds. Neolani went onto explain the enjoyment of swimming the relay for their country; “ It’s a lot of fun. You’re swim-

Tongan swimmers in action at the World Championships in Korea were impressive with personal best times and breaking national records.

“It’s good to get National Records, but it’s good to bond with your teammates.” Amini Fonua ming your best for the whole team, but it’s fun.” Fonua reiterated the point, “It’s good to get National Records, but it’s good to bond with your teammates.” Panuve followed on by talking about the team dynamic;“ It’s good to swim with your teammates, not only are you motivating yourself, but they’re there to motivate you as well. It sort of eliminates the doubt in your head.” Finally, together they reflected on their most memorable moments of this week. Finau began stating that this

relay was the best moment, whilst Noelani reflected in her 50m Freestyle performance, as her best moment. For Charissa it was about; “Being around everyone, my own teammates, and everyone from Oceania. It’s just nice to come together and remember why you are doing it.” It was a wonderful way for Tonga to round off their World Championships, both in thought and deed. A new National Record, positive performances and some great memories.

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Nuku'alofa Times Issue 153  

Nuku'alofa Times Issue 153