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  • Association Affairs
  • Pacific Science Association

PSA Activities

Point d'étape Symposium on French Research in the Pacific

PSA Executive Secretary Burke Burnett represented the Pacific Science Association at the Point d'étape Symposium on French Research in the Pacific, held in Tahiti on 9-12 October 2006. This symposium was a follow-on meeting to update the progress in French research since the 2004 Symposium on French Research in the Pacific that took place in Noumea. The symposium was sponsored by the French Government, with the governments of French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna, and organized under the auspices of the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Overseas Territories, with the support of the Permanent Secretary for the Pacific Region.

The objectives of the symposium were to: assess the current status and progress of French research since the Noumea meeting; strengthen collaboration between the three French Pacific territories and the small island countries of the region, as well as Australia, Chile, and Japan; identify common research issues in the region; and plan the development of French research in response to the needs of the Pacific region. Presentations were in French, but simultaneous translation via headset was graciously provided for English speakers.

Both plenary sessions were open to registered participants. Fabrice Colin, Director of the Research Institute for Development (IRD) in Noumea, provided an overview of French Research in the Pacific. The first symposium was focused on the topic of "Natural Hazards and Climate Change," and began with a lecture by Jean-François Royer (CNRM) on "Climate change simulations and their impacts in the Pacific," followed by a presentation by Bernard Pelletier (IRD-Noumea) on "Seismic, volcanic and tsunami hazards in Vanuatu, Futuna, and New Caledonia: Current knowledge and studies in progress." Papers presented included: Christian Picard (University of New Caledonia): "Risk of volcanic eruptions in the Southwest Pacific." Dominique Reymond (Geophysics Laboratory, CEA): "Geophysics observatory in Polynesia." Victoire Laurent (Météo France): "Conditions for the formation of Polynesian cyclones: SST analysis." Christophe Maes (IRD-Noumea): "Programme of SPICE research: Ocean currents in the South Pacific." Anne Leroy (Météo France): "The use of seasonal forecasting in New Caledonia." Philippe Couraud (Urbanization Agency, French Polynesia): "Natural risks in French Polynesia and their impact on land-use planning." Hélène Hebert (Department for Environmental Reconnaissance and Analysis): "Evaluation of the tsunami risk in French Polynesia." Jean-Christophe Audru (BRGM-Mayotte): "Geomechanical characterization [End Page 301] of surface formations and instabilities in French Polynesia." Pierre Maurizot (BGRM-New Caledonia): "Natural risk and the impact of soil erosion on land-use planning in New Caledonia." Michel Allenbach (University of New Caledonia): "Global warming in the Pacific: risks and socio-economic consequences." Elodie Martinez (International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii, Manoa): "The impact of El Niño in Polynesia."

The theme of the second symposium was "Societies, Resources, and Environments," and was opened with an introductory lecture by Serge Tsherkezoff, Director of the Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l'Océanie (CREDO). The first presentation by Jean Christophe Galipaud (IRD-Noumea) and Christophe Sand (Government of New Caledonia) was on "Human-environment interaction in the Southwest Pacific: A long-term perspective." Eric Conte from the University of French Polynesia gave a lecture on "A millennium of human environmental transformation in the Gambier Archipelago" which illuminated his fieldwork, conducted with Patrick Kirch from UC-Berkeley. Other papers presented included: Elvina Inghels (University of New Caledonia): "The Pacific of the past: The anthropogenic impact of the second wave of human migration and how environments shaped traditional societies." Pierre Ottino (IRD-Tahiti): "Island environments and valleys in Fenua Enata, Marquesas Islands." Jean-Michel Charpentier (CNRS - University of French Polynesia): "Linguistic atlas of French Polynesia." Patrice Godin (CREDO): "Changes in agricultural calendars in Oceania." Sébastien Larrue (IRIDIP, University of French Polynesia): "Plant cover, trees and corresponding representations in French Polynesia: Landscape remnants and current dynamics." Tamatoa Bambridge (IRIDIP, University of French Polynesia): "The appropriation of the littoral in time and space in Tahiti and Nuku Hiva." René Galzin (Director of the Laboratory for Tropical Ichthyology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes...


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