Shining our spotlight on our Pacific People that work for our Pacific environment is this Q and A series from your Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
Mr Tavita Su’a is the Environmental Information Systems Developer and Analyst with the Environmental Monitoring and Governance Programme at SPREP. He is responsible for the maintenance and development of all the systems and services provided by the Inform Project.
Inform will help establish a Pacific island network of national and regional data repositories and reporting tools to support the monitoring, evaluation and analysis of environmental information that will inform environmental decision making.
Some of these systems are web-based and accessible on the internet like the Pacific Environment Portal (PEP) at https://pacific-data.sprep.org. Tavita also handles all the IT-related activities for his team and programme.
Q. What would you say is one of the most interesting or impactful activities you have done with our Pacific Members? I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the INFORM project team to establish Papua New Guinea’s national data portal at https://png-data.sprep.org through the guidance and support of the Conservation and Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA). I assisted the CEPA team with cataloguing their internal data the data collected externally from other departments and entities to report on PNGs national and international obligations. The collated data will be crucial in making informed decisions going forward on these priorities. One such priority was the launch of PNG’s first ever State of Environment report. I’m honoured to be part of the team that worked with the Conservation and Environment Protection Agency of Papua New Guinea to complete and launch the first ever PNG State of Environment Report.
Q. What do you feel is one of the biggest challenges in your role and how do you overcome it? I’d say a big challenge with my area is translating the needs and wants of our stakeholders into development milestones – I’m talking about computer programs, systems and services here. Often when we engage with country focal points or partners on system developments, the requested changes must be broken down into manageable tasks or tickets. This can lead to misunderstandings and delays if we don’t get it right. We also make sure that we check we have capacity and resources to help meet these milestones.
We can overcome this by including stakeholders in the development cycle and having them test the changes as they are being implemented instead of developing and deploying an interpretation of their requirements.
Q. What tip do you think we should all know to help protect our environment? Keep a reusable shopping bag in your car, make it your automatic go-to. That way we don’t collect single-use plastic bags. It’s one of the easiest things we can do. The first step always starts with us.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? You reap what you sow.
Should you wish to learn more about the Inform Project please visit: https://www.sprep.org/inform
To get in touch with Tavita you can email him at [email protected]