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DDG Latu's Opening Remarks at The Regional Expert Roundtable on Climate Services for Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Security, Apia, Samoa 23rd-24th February 2015

On behalf of the DG, I would like to take this opportunity to WELCOME you all to the SPREP Campus for the Regional Expert Roundtable on Climate Services for Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Security
SPREPweb pic2Kosi Latu, Deputy-Director General, SPREP

I would also like to make special mention of the core team that worked tirelessly to bring together the different experts to this roundtable meeting. I also acknowledge the financial support from FAO and SPREP and the technical support from SPC and NIWA to make this meeting happen. I would also like to acknowledge the Samoa Meteorological Division for hosting a session tomorrow morning at their office at Muninu'u.

Looking around the room, I can see that this is a very rich gathering of experts (from FAO, SPC, SPREP, NIWA and WMO and the experts from the NMS and Agriculture departments) and one that should be able to provide guidance to the region on how climate services can effectively contribute to food and nutrition security.

In a recent study contacted by SPC in the region showed that from 1982 to 2012, of the 615 natural hazards recorded during that period in the Pacific, 75% of those disasters are weather related. The IPCC fifth assessment report also clearly showed that our Climate will continue to change in the future. Agriculture is one of the sectors that is being affected by disasters and will continue to be affected in the future.

Agriculture is therefore one of the key sector that the meteorological community has been targeting for their services. For example;
a. I understand that under the WMO Regional Association V (five) (which many of the national meteorological services in the Pacific region are members of), working groups are established to bring climate services closer to the agriculture sector at the national level. I hope that you are able to discuss some of their efforts during this meeting and how they can be improved.
b. Agriculture and food security is also one of the four key priority areas identified under the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).

In April 2014, SPREP worked together with WMO and its partners, the national meteorological services and national stakeholders to develop a draft Pacific Region Implementation Road Map for Strengthened Climate Services. This Roadmap tries to put into perspective the GFCS and how it can be implemented in the Pacific region.

The establishment of the Pacific Islands Climate Services Panel or the PICS Panel by the Pacific Meteorological Council (made up of technical partner institutions such as USP, SPC, SPREP, NIWA, NOAA and national met. services) took this roadmap further and developed an Action Plan for climate services in the region.

All these are PLANS aimed at improving climate services for sectors.

These plans to some extent are still broad and specific technical discussions such as this roundtable are needed to tease out in detail the gaps in climate services for a specific sector such as agriculture and how they can be improved. Am sure there are already examples of how climate information can be used or have been used in the productive sectors. The Climate Early Warning System (CLEWS) developed by the government of Samoa and NIWA provides such potential and I hope you are able to explore this further in your field trip tomorrow to the Samoa Meteorological Division. Other national institutions may also have specific examples and experiences in delivering climate services to sectors.

I am sure the deliberations from FAO, SPC, USP and the national Agriculture departments will bring a fresh perspective to the meteorological community on how climate services can be tailored to provide specific information for decision making. For example, the discussions on the Work Flow Model of a typical life cycle of a common crop such as Taro and how climate information is applied to the different stages of its growth will be very enriching. I look forward to the discussions of the 2 expert communities around the table and the outcome of the proposed Action Plan

ABOUT SPREP
SPREP is a regional organisation established by the Governments and Administrations of the Pacific charged with protecting and managing the environment and natural resources of the Pacific and employs about 90 staff.

SPREP's mandate is to promote cooperation in the Pacific region and provide assistance in order to protect and improve its environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations.

SPREP is guided by its vision for the future: "The Pacific environment, sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures".

The SPREP Strategic priorities are delivered through four divisions:
• Climate Change: has lead responsibility for Adaptation, Science & Policy and Mitigation.
• Biodiversity & Ecosystem Management: has lead responsibility for Coastal & Marine, Threatened & Migratory Species, Invasive Species and Biodiversity.
• Waste Management & Pollution Control: has lead responsibility for Hazardous Waste Management, Pollution and Solid Waste Management.
• Environmental Monitoring & Governance: has lead responsibility for Environmental Monitoring & Planning and Governance.

If this is your first time here at the SPREP Campus and would like to know more about our programs, take your time to look around and chat to some of our staff.

With these few words, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best in your deliberations over the action plan for the region on Climate Services for Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Security.. over the next 2 days.

I Thank you
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