4 December 20022, Noumea, New Caledonia – An international event dedicated to space-based imagery, observation, and geomatics in the Oceania region, which would benefit Pacific island countries and territories, took place in Noumea, New Caledonia from 28 November – 4 December 2022.
The Oceania Geospatial Symposium, which was proudly supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), was officially opened with a traditional “coutume” at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, attended by the President of New Caledonia, Honourable Louis Mapou, and representatives of various Pacific Island countries including Fiji, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna, and representatives of other island states and international organisations actively involved in the geospatial fields.
In his opening remarks, President Mapou emphasised, “The stakes today are overwhelming. They transcend the frame of our small islands and our small people, and we need the resilience that we have shown for centuries and centuries in these territories. But we increasingly need to anticipate”.
Director General of the Pacific Community (SPC), Dr. Stuart Michin, also noted the significance of geospatial science as it helps in understanding the location of crucial events and their impacts on the Pacific region and how to address these impacts using geospatial tools and earth observation.
The symposium aimed to foster partnerships and collaborations between Pacific countries and organizations and bring together stakeholders in the geography and geospatial sectors.
The week-long symposium featured multiple sub-events, including round table discussions, conferences, training, workshops, a hackathon, and a trade show, to connect geospatial and earth observation experts from the region and beyond. The event also provided an opportunity for the collaborative management and analysis of Earth Observation (EO) data to better address shared challenges such as climate change, population displacement, and water resource management.
SPREP was represented by Environmental GIS Specialist, Ms. Vani Koroisamanunu, who presented on the organisation's Spatial Information Platforms. SPREP is a participating organisation of the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) board and a sponsor of the OGS event.
Ms. Koroisamanunu emphasised the importance of earth observation and real-time imagery for informed decision-making in the Pacific region noting that access to earth observation and real-time imagery for our pacific islands is observed as a gap for spatial analysis, and the OGS event enables participants to interact with data providers who can address this and enable informed decision-making through the provision of data.”.
Ms. Koroisamanunu also served as the Chair of the Oceania Women in Geospatial technical session, which aimed to highlight the role of women in the implementation of various projects in the region and to strengthen relationships and networks within the geospatial community.
“It was a privilege to represent SPREP as the Chair of the Oceania Women in Geospatial technical session, as we discussed the role of women who are implementing various projects in the region and shared testimonials of women GIS practitioners during the symposium. This has resulted in strengthening relationships and networks in the vast range of expertise for women in the geospatial space”, said Ms Koroisamanunu.
All topics discussed at the OGS 2022 were directly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while supporting the sustainable management of Pacific Island resources and the operational needs of Pacific Island decision-makers by leading concrete projects in three thematic areas: Territory Knowledge, Water Resources, and Wetlands at a regional scale.
The OGS 2022 was made possible with funding support from the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Global Environment Facility-funded Inform Project (GEF/UNEP) by SPREP.
For more information about the Inform Project, please visit https://www.sprep.org/inform. To learn more about the Oceania Geospatial Symposium 2022, visit www.oceania-geospatial.com.