Digital Pacific Update

Responding to the ‘Pacific Digital Adaptation Challenge’

Many Pacific communities face the challenge of navigating their way to a sustainable and prosperous future whilst advancing into the digital age. The Digital Society Foundation recently submitted a Regional Initiative Submission to the Pacific Islands Forum Regional Consultation Program.

Solomon Islands Electoral Office Commission signs MOU with Our Telekom

The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Solomon Islands Electoral Office Commission (SIEOC) and Our Telekom aims to enhance voter accessibility. Mass SMS broadcasts to Our Telekom subscribers on important electoral matters will be implemented. The agreement allows both parties to develop an interactive system for voters through which people can easily enquire about their registration details.

IoT and Mobile Data to improve the Pacific’s disaster monitoring

IT officials in APEC are advancing the potential for innovative digital technologies to improve disaster monitoring systems. Internet of Things (IoT) and the application of mobile data garnered by a network of devices can optimise the region’s disaster monitoring systems at a significantly lower cost than conventional technology.

Disaster Resilience: Using UAVs to assess disaster risk

Fiji and Tonga are frequently threatened by the impacts of climate change and associated natural hazards. These countries work hard to assess, identify and quantify risks and begin the recovery process. Both countries face geographical and development challenges that hampers data collection and response. To counter this, these Pacific islands have introduced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to collect high resolution images to generate cost-effective mapping data and digital models through the UAV4Resilance project.

Digital innovations help farmers increase productivity

Farmers in Fiji will now be able to record their productivity and sales electronically after the launch of a new app, PacFarmer. The app is the first of its kind in the Pacific and allows farmers to access information on government schemes, commodity prices, weather information, digital payments and additional data. The Australian Government-supported app is a great example of digital innovation that will improve access to financial information for Pacific Islanders.


New sophisticated tide gauge station commissioned in Tonga

A highly-advanced tide gauge station was unveiled last month in Nuku’alofa during the 17th Session of the World Meteorolgical Organisation Regional Association Meeting. The new gauge is one of 14 in an Australian-funded Pacific Sea Level and Geodetic Monitoring network that records tides, weather and land movement.

Backed by the UN, Asia-Pacific countries are cooperating on space technology for ‘development transformation’

Countries from the Asia-Pacific pledged to work together at a recent United Nations conference to leverage the power of space technology to boost sustainable development. The agreement makes the Asia-Pacific the first region to adopt a coordinated approach to using space technology in the service of development. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) has 53 members, including all Pacific nations.

Australia and Estonia partner to support e-governance in the Pacific

Australia and Estonia recently strengthened an e-governance regional cyber capacity-building project in the Pacific with a three-day workshop. The aim was to provide Pacific Island States the opportunity to engage in cooperative discussions on e-governance implementation. During the workshop, Ms Rhona McPhee, Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Tonga, noted that “Australia recognises the transformative role that digital technologies play in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of government services.”

The Pacific emerges as an attractive investment destination

According to the latest ANZ Research report, the Pacific region is quickly becoming an attractive investment destination thanks to its real GDP growth and willingness to utilise innovative technologies. With help from the international community, particularly in designing and implementing digitalisation processes, the Pacific economies can overcome their critical developmental challenges.