Pacific Islands Global Climate Observation System (PI-GCOS)

Sub-regional Level

Pacific Islands Global Climate Observation System (PI-GCOS)


09 March 2012



Capacity BuildingResearch and Development


Disaster Risk Reduction and Management


2004, Ongoing

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP)


Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP); Australian Government's Overseas Aid Program (AusAID); United States Global Climate Observing System (US GCOS); World Meteorological Organization (WMO); Update on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)

Supporters / Donors

World Meteorological Organization (WMO); United Nations Environmenta Programme (UNEP)

Description of Intervention

The Pacific Islands-Global Climate Observing System (PI-GCOS) programme started in Apia, Samoa, in 2000 as a result of the first regional Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) workshop organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the international GCOS Secretariat. It is a sub-programme of the GCOS aimed specifically at meeting the observing needs of Pacific Islands.

Problems to be Addressed

One of the issues that was identified early during the consultation among PI-GCOS collaborating partners is the need to build capacity of individual Pacific Islands NMHS if the goals of the PI-GCOS Action Plan are to be met. The first step in this direction was the establishment of the RC with the majority of its members being representatives of Pacific Islands NMHS. This is a reflection of the realisation that the PI-GCOS can be successful only if it is owned and primarily driven by the Pacific people themselves, as they will ultimately benefit from the programme.


Establish a robust and sustainable Pacific Islands climate observing system that meets long-term climate observation needs in the region and the world, in line with the PI-GCOS Action Plan and the PIGCOS Implementation Plan.


The objective is to develop capacity for application of climate information to cope with climate variability and change:

Results / Outputs

The PI-GCOS programme was recently showcased at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP10) held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from December 6 to 17, 2004, with great success. The PI-GCOS programme success was touted as a good model for other regions, particularly in relation to the cooperative partnership between developing and developed countries of the region, along with the key central roles that organisations such as SPREP and South Pacific Applied Geosciences Commission (SOPAC) have played to further the goals of PI-GCOS. 

The key action area recommended by the IPCC was to reverse the decline of observation networks in many parts of the world, and sustain and expand the observational foundation for climate studies by providing accurate, long-term, consistent data including implementation of a strategy for integrated global observations. Strengthening the GCOS capacity will accomplish these and provide the necessary data and capacity for the preparation of advanced warnings. These will greatly assist Pacific Islands in meeting their social, environmental and economic needs. An improved Pacific GCOS system provides the ability to prepare for and minimise impacts on the social, environmental and economic sectors that are vital to achieving sustainable development. Climate data are needed to support the development and application of a variety of climate information products and services in the Pacific region, including:

•  Seasonal-to-Interannual forecasts and other aspects of climate variability;

•  Derived products;

•  Climate change monitoring;

•  Climate change assessment;

•  Climate variability;

•  Enhanced information on extreme events;

•  Indicators of environmental quality and vulnerability;

•  Advice to governments (e.g., on sustainable development and support for international obligations); and

•  Information to assist industry and communities address the consequences of climate variability and change.

Lessons Learned


Upscaling / Outreach Activities

These include establishment of the PI-GCOS steering group, development of the PI-GCOS Action Plan and appointment of a full-time PI-GCOS coordinator based in SPREP. At the international level, eight GCOS workshops have been held in other regions of the world, and according to observers, the Apia workshop is considered the most successful. This success is mainly attributed to the dedicated efforts of all stakeholders involved in the PI-GCOS programme to date. Recent activities include the establishment of a Regional Committee (RC), which serves as the PI-GCOS steering group. Mr. Arona Ngari, the Director of the Cook Islands National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (NMHS), was selected as the interim chair. The role of the RC is to guide the implementation of the PI-GCOS Action Plan and act as an advisory group to the PI-GCOS Coordinator.

Contact Details

Dean Solafa
Tel:  +685 21929