The Science Conference 2017 begins in Samoa

The Science Conference 2017 is now underway. This follows the official opening ceremony this morning at the National University of Samoa (NUS) Le Papaigalagala campus.

The conference theme "Science and Technology for Sustainable Development", is hosted by NUS in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). It is the first major joint initiative between the University and the Secretariat since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2015.

The Minister for Education, Sports and Culture, Hon. Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio in his official address to open the three-day conference, stressed the role which science and technology plays in achieving sustainable development.

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The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Hon. Loau Keneti Sio delivering his official opening address. Photo: SPREP

"I believe there is a role for science and technology in addressing the development challenges that Samoa, like many other small island states, continues to face, and this is where we need to work collectively with our key partners including the private sector to harness the transformative capability that science and technology offers towards achieving our sustainable development aspirations."

The Minister noted the partnership of the Governments of Samoa and Japan with the construction of the Pacific Climate Change Centre in 2018 at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment which will provide further opportunities for collaboration between NUS and SPREP with other partners, in the areas of science, research, technology and environmental innovations.

The Science Conference 2017 brings together academics, researchers and practitioners in the applications of science for sustainable development, and it is a forum to bring these communities together to share their research, areas of expertise and lessons learnt with a focus on practical pathways to sustainable development.

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The participants of the Science Conference 2017 with staff of the National Univeristy of Samoa and SPREP.
Photo: SPREP

Having recently returned from COP23 in Bonn, the SPREP Director General, Mr Kosi Latu, delivered the first keynote address on Ocean Governance highlighting the nexus between oceans and climate change. While climate change is acknowledged as the number one threat facing the region, the Pacific which is 98% ocean and 2% land is also addressing the development challenges of marine pollution, threatened migratory species, and ocean acidification. Mr. Latu emphasised the importance of integrated ocean management, and stakeholders working together to sustainably manage our ocean resources at all levels, as demonstrated by Pacific Leaders at the 48th Pacific Islands Forum recently held in Samoa.

Other topics over the three days include: Sustainable e-Government for Pacific Island States; The Role of Seasonal Climate Prediction Models and the Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum for Sustainable Development in the Pacific; Geospatial Technology for Sustainable Development: Skyeye Pacific's Experience; and more.

The Science Conference 2017 is a partnership between the National University of Samoa and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, with sponsorship from SSAB , the New Zealand High Commission and Digicel. The conference will be held from 22 – 24 November.
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