USD $350,000 grant to support data science for good and the democratisation of satellite data for Pacific countries

(L-R) Honourable Aren B Palik Vice-President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Dr Stuart Minchin Director General SPC, Hon. Panapasi Nelesone, Minister of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu during the Digital Earth Pacific programme launch - SPC

 

The Pacific Community (SPC) has received a USD350,000 grant from the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF) to strengthen access to data for all Pacific people through Digital Earth Pacific (DEP).

As a digital public infrastructure, DEP offers free, open, and regularly updated products and services from Earth observation satellites, making it cost-effective and accessible to decision-makers and communities all over the Pacific. This allows for insights to understand how the Pacific region’s environment is changing, including tracking coastlines, changes in mangrove growth, wave flooding, and freshwater sources.

The funding will catalyse the research and development of near-coastal ocean floor mapping using satellite data, empowering the Pacific’s efforts in comprehensive ocean exploration.

Near-coastal ocean floor mapping data is pivotal for conservation, disaster prediction, and sustainable resource management. It aids in safeguarding habitats, preparing better for disasters, guiding resource practices, and informing policies. It supports scientific research, fosters economic growth, and enhances maritime safety, ensuring coastal communities’ well-being and preserving marine ecosystems.

SPC’s Director General, Dr Stuart Minchin, welcomed the seed funding and stated, “Access to fit-for-purpose and timely data that enables us to manage the environmental changes our region faces are costly and hard to access for many of our Pacific communities.”
"Digital Earth Pacific unlocks access to routinely updated free data and products. This grant will allow us to develop an innovative regional product of near-coastal ocean floor mapping, which will serve as a critical dataset for decision-making around the safety of navigation, fisheries management, mapping coastal erosion and sea level rise, and monitoring marine habitats".

"The Pacific region is particularly at risk for the impacts of climate change. By offering timely access to trustworthy data through Digital Earth Pacific, the Pacific Community (SPC) is ensuring that the region has access to the information and tools needed to protect its environment, mitigate disasters, promote sustainable practices, and build a more resilient future," said Vilas Dhar, President of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.

The Pacific Community remains committed to sustainable collaborations, fit-for-purpose funding and innovative partnerships and expertise from diverse stakeholders to maximise the impact of this transformative initiative.

About the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF):

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF) is a philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing artificial intelligence and data science solutions to create a thriving, equitable, and sustainable future for all. PJMF works in partnership with public, private and social institutions to drive progress on our most pressing challenges, including digital health, climate change, broad digital access, and data maturity in the social sector.

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Joint Release

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Geoscience, Energy and Maritime

Digital Earth Pacific

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