Director GEM Division
Rhonda Robinson is the Director for the Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division at the Pacific Community. She leads one of the organisation's largest Divisions that support Pacific countries and territories with scientific and technical solutions to address some of the region's greatest challenges
Rhonda is of Fijian descent and stepped into the role from her previous tenure as the Deputy Director of the Disaster and Community Resilience Programme at the Pacific Community, having served in this role for almost 6 years.
Rhonda has dynamic leadership and technical experience having started her career in water and sanitation almost 25 years ago. Her work has supported increased access to water and sanitation for Pacific communities, strengthened disaster preparedness, helped in understanding the impacts of disaster and climate risk in the region and contributed to the understanding and management of natural resources.
Rhonda also held various senior leadership roles having led the Disaster and Community Resilience Programme and the Water and Sanitation Programme in the Pacific Community (2011-2022) whilst having experience in leading, developing and implementing various projects across water security, disaster risk reduction, and development. She also has demonstrated experience in change management and strategic leadership to enable action and outcomes alongside Pacific countries and territories. Rhonda began her career as a water and sanitation intern with the SOPAC Commission in 1998.
The Division and her work will cross cut key areas of our Members in disaster and climate risk management, water security, energy security, maritime transport and safety, ocean services and management, georesources and geosurveys and earth and marine observation. This includes regional security through maritime boundaries and the intersection with disaster preparedness and response.
Rhonda holds a Masters in Environmental Management and Development, and a Masters of Diplomacy from Australian National University. She is also a graduate of University of the South Pacific with a Bachelor of Science and a Post Graduate Diploma in Biology.
Deputy-Director GEM Division
Georesources & Energy Programme
Akuila is the Deputy-Director for the Geoscience and Energy Programme (GEP) within the GEM Division. Prior to his appointment to this post he was team leader for a large sea mineral project and a Senior Advisor in aggregates and geology at the Geoscience Division for more than 10 years.
He is a member of the International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS) and the Fiji Mining and Quarrying Council, and the SPC regional correspondent for the InterRidge News. Akuila also worked as an Exploration/Mine/Project Geologist at an operating mine and two other exploration projects in Fiji for a further 7 years before joining SPC. He has relevant experience working with a broad range of stakeholders in the minerals/mining industry including governments, regional and international organisations, academic institutions, Private sector, NGOs, Communities and resource owners.
Deputy-Director GEM Division
Oceans and Maritime Programme
Jens is the Deputy Director for the Ocean and Maritime Programme of the Pacific Community (SPC). Jens is a graduate of the University of the South Pacific, Fiji and completed an MSC at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. He has over 20 years of experience leading multi-disciplinary applied research projects and has a particular interest in the use of marine science and technology in managing the development challenges of Pacific Small Island Developing States. Jens has shaped the regional approach to maritime boundaries for many years and is passionate about collaborative approaches to ocean governance.
Jens has worked in over 20 countries including several years as a seafarer on marine survey vessels. This work in the industry and with intergovernmental organisations has resulted in more than 80 publications including technical reports, maps, scientific papers and book chapters.
Acting Deputy-Director Gem Division
Disaster and Community Resilience Programme
Patrick Haines is an experienced project manager, with a strong background in corporate services and aid implementation. As a Ni-Vanuatu national, Patrick spent 16 years working for the Australian Government in several senior management positions providing advice on complex and sensitive issues relating to the delivery of Australia's aid program to Vanuatu. He has experience working with a range of aid modalities (managing contractors, whole of government, grants, direct funding to government).
Patrick currently works for the Pacific Community (SPC), as head of the Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance (PIEMA) project. In this role, Patrick works with key interlocutors in Pacific NDMOs, Police, and Military Forces and Fire Services. Patrick's connection to the Pacific combined with his deep understanding of the Australia Government has allowed him to inform Government policy and represent at senior levels.