Secretariat of the Pacific Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC)

Secretariat of the Pacific Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC)

The SPC Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC Division of SPC) is new, and began operation on 1 January 2011.

The goal of the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division is to apply geoscience and technology to realise new opportunities for improving the livelihoods of Pacific communities.

In the SOPAC context, geoscience means any science concerned with the Earth. This includes geological, physical, chemical and biological processes that occur at the earth's surface or in its interior. It includes the tools used in SOPAC to assess whether the use of resources is viable, and to study natural disasters and their impact on island communities.

The SPC Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) has been established as an outcome of the regional institutional framework reform process called for by the Pacific Island Leaders Forum over recent years. Part of that process was to transfer and integrate the core work programme of the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) (SOPAC "The Commission") into the SPC.

The purpose of establishing SOPAC "The Division" is to ensure the preservation of the identity of the SOPAC work programme that has built up an excellent reputation, amongst both Members and donor partners over nearly 40 years.

SOPAC "The Commission" has come a long way since its establishment in 1972, first as a United Nations Development Programme Regional Project, then in 1990 as an independent inter-governmental organisation, and from 2011, to be a new Division in the SPC. Initially the work programme focused on the assessment of deep-sea minerals and hydrocarbon potential. Over the years, the work programme of SOPAC expanded to include the assessment of the potential of ocean and onshore mineral resources, coastal protection and management, and geohazard assessment. Over the past decade, its mandate broadened further to include water, wastewater, sanitation, energy, and disaster risk management.


The purpose of the SPC Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) is to ensure the earth sciences are utilised fully in order to fulfill the SPC Mission.  In the island context the earth sciences comprise geology, geophysics, oceanography and hydrology.

To fulfill this, the division has three technical work programmes:

Ocean and Islands

Water and Sanitation

Disaster Reduction

These three programmes share common technical support services:

Natural Resource Economics

GIS and Remote Sensing

Technical Equipment and Services

Data Management

Publications and Library

The work programme is reviewed annually by a technical advisory group consisting of members, Secretariat representatives and a Science, Technology and Resources Network (STAR).

Caption from the SOPAC website