SOPAC NewsUpdate # 001

 25 January 2002

In the last issue of SOPAC News (Number 1 of 2001) we decided to create a second stream from the SOPAC Newsdesk to complement and at times be an alternate conduit to SOPAC News for highlighting and informing SOPAC's partners in development what the SOPAC Secretariat is busy with. This is the beginning of this stream, and we'll call it SOPAC Newsflash. It will only be a short no-frills e-mail like this and give brief notes on present happenings in and around the SOPAC Secretariat, coming out whenever there is enough copy to fill a page. Each paragraph is a new story.

The current Chair of the SOPAC Governing Council, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and National Representative of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to SOPAC, Ms Marie Maddison, visited the SOPAC Secretariat on the 21st of January 2002. In an informal photo session, she presented the new SOPAC Corporate Plan for the three-year period 2002 to 2004 to the Director and staff of the Secretariat. You can view the SOPAC 2002-2004 Corporate Plan at the link given or write to us for a paper copy: The official distribution of the SOPAC Corporate Plan is deferred for two weeks awaiting the production of the new corporate structure. SOPAC News reports fully on this in the next newsletter.

Some bad news was received from Kiribati last week. Our main technical contact in Kiribati passed on the news that Baranika Etuati passed away on 24 December 2001, after a long illness, at 32 years of age. Baranika was a Hydrogeologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources Development.

Proceedings of the 30th Session of the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), held in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands during 17-24 October 2001 is now published. Here is the link for downloading from the SOPAC website, or write to us for a paper copy.

The third and final year of the current cycle of SOPAC's Earth Science and Marine Geology Certificate Course, began on Monday, 14 January, at the USP Marine Studies complex. Seventeen students from nine island member countries are participating. The course will last about three months and is being conducted by Mr Russell Maharaj who is funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

From April 2002, refer to Dr Russell Howorth as Deputy Director of the SOPAC Secretariat, rather than Program Manager. The appointment made by the SOPAC Governing Council at it's 30th meeting in Majuro in October 2001 is to take effect from the end of Dr Howorth's current contract.

A preliminary assessment on earthquake and tsunami damage caused by the earthquake that struck Vanuatu in the early hours of 3 January 2002 has been prepared by Dr Graham Shorten and his team in the Hazards Assessment Unit in the SOPAC Secretariat. You can view it at this link: This work is funded by the Office of DFID Pacific.

Senior professional staff have been preoccupied with briefing aspects of various Preparatory Conferences for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and for various meetings in and around the region that require input from the sectors in SOPAC's mandate. In addition to this SOPAC is also involved in preparations for the 3rd World Water Forum to be held in Kyoto, Japan in 2003. The Director and members of the Water Resources Unit will be participating in planning meetings for the "Water in Small Islands" and "Water in Poverty" Themes.

The next issue of SOPAC News (Number 2 of 2001) is currently in preparation, covering the period from October to December 2001. Back issues of SOPAC News will also be available online at the link below by June 2002.

The Secretariat was closed for the holiday period from 24 December 2001 to 1 January 2002, and this desk was fully operational again from 14 January. May we take this opportunity to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.


Lala Bukarau Publications Coordinator South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) Private Mail Bag, GPO Suva, Fiji Tel: +679 381377 Fax: +679 370040 E-mail: Web site: 

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