Fiji’s Permanent Representative the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, delivered a keynote address yesterday at the Global Information Systems (GIS) for a Sustainable World Conference held in Geneva.

Ambassador Khan spoke on the challenges encountered in the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals as a result of intense weather events and climate change. She also reiterated on importance of the geospatial data generated from the CommonSensing Project which was launched in Fiji, this year.

The project is coordinated through a partnership between Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, United Kingdom Space Agency, the United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Ambassador Khan emphasised on the importance of data in relation to disaster risk management, which enabled the countries to prepare better for disasters and internal displacement. She stated that the data which will now be available in a central platform will assist Fiji to predict weather patterns, to strengthen its disaster management strategies and plan accordingly its priorities for relocation of settlements.

“By developing satellite-based information services that directly match the challenges and needs for each country, the project will strengthen each country’s capacity to improve their climate resilience and disaster risk management. CommonSensing support consists of two elements, geospatial and climate information and decision making tools and capacity building for technical staff, specialised analysts and decision makers. The thematic focus areas are disaster risk, climate finance, food security, and climate information. Building climate resilience needs detailed understanding of future climate conditions, in both time and scale,” Ambassador Khan explained.

The Conference will continue for 3 days in Geneva and is attended by scientists, humanitarian workers and States.