Pacific GIS conference
Island and Ocean Ecosystems
Environmental Monitoring and Governance

17 January 2024, Suva Fiji - A recent gathering of Pacific experts and technicians in Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) in Suva Fiji will contribute to assisting Pacific communities by providing real time or near real time information about environmental conditions, improving Pacific resilience.

This information can support communities in making informed and timely decisions regarding resources management, and responses to disasters and environmental protection. The 25th Pacific Geospatial Conference, hosted by the Pacific GIS and Remote Sensing Council (PGRSC), convened under the theme ‘Improving Resilience in the Pacific Islands Through GIS and Remote Sensing.’ 

The five-day conference from 27 November to 1 December 2023 at USP in Fiji attracted more than 200 participants from around the Pacific region and the world. It coincided with the Annual General Meeting of the PGRSC, of which the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is a founding member. 

Sixteen Pacific island countries and territories were represented and the PGRSC National Focal Points had the opportunity to highlight in-country activities relevant to GIS and Remote Sensing. 

The conference also provided GIS experts and technicians a platform to share geospatial updates derived from environmental analysis through country-specific projects, and to be introduced to open-source data and applications.

It also provided an opportunity for geospatial experts to engage with local communities and an avenue for networking to foster collaboration with experts, international institutions and organisations that can address common challenges and promote knowledge exchange. More than 60 presentations and featured discussions, six technical workshops and lightning talks were delivered by national focal points who attended the meeting.

SPREP GIS team member, Spatial Analysis Specialist, Ms Kasaqa Tora, attended the conference, and delivered a presentation on the topic, “Using Geospatial Tool to inform the needs for Water Security and Protected Area Management”. 

Ms Tora said that the conference was a great opportunity to network with key stakeholders in the field of geospatial analysis and for them to be updated with new developments for Pacific Islands Protected Area Portal (PIPAP) tools, and data availability and access. 

Ms Tora also facilitated a two-hour PIPAP (can you spell this out pls) awareness workshop to the participants that registered. The workshop was an introduction to thePacific database of protected areas information, , since it is the first for all the participants. Through this awareness workshop, participants appreciated the PIPAP tool and the amount of information that is available to assist them, especially to better understand the importance of Protected Areas.  

“SPREP’s mandate is to serve its member countries. The conference was a great opportunity to meet with the PGRSC focal point from SPREP member countries and together plan future geospatial activities,” Ms Tora said.

“It was also a great opportunity for learning and knowledge exchange with different participants who are experts in their respective geospatial fields through their presentations and the discussions that were held throughout the five days of the conference.” 

SPREP participation was supported by the EU-OACPS BIOPAMA programme, an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and the Pacific (OACPS) Group of States financed by the European Union 11th European Development Fund. 

In the Pacific, the project is implemented by IUCN Oceania in partnership with SPREP and the European Commission Joint Research Centre. This partnership has assisted the SPREP Regional Programme of Support for Protected Areas (SPREP-PA) to become a decision-making support hub, including delivering capacity building activities and training in the use of BIOPAMA support tools and services. It has also seen significant enhancements of the Pacific Islands Protected Area Portal, the region’s one-stop resource for protected area information.

For more information, about the Pacific Islands GIS & Remote Sensing Conference, the Inform project and BIOPAMA programme please contact Ms Kasaqa Tora, Spatial Analysis Specialist - Protected Areas on email [email protected]