NAURU 6 September – SOLOMON Islands and 14 Pacific Island countries in the Pacific Region will benefit from an approximately 45 million of European Union (EU) Fund including a 10 million contribution from Swedish Government.
All respective heads from the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) participated in the signing of the landmark agreement in Nauru with EU to help promote sustainable management of fisheries, food security, blue growth and sound ocean governance in the Pacific Region.
The new Pacific – European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme will also support the Regional Road-map for Sustainable Fisheries, provide direct assistance through regional organisations to support regional and national level activities in the Pacific and addresses some of the most serious challenges faced by the region.
Further areas of support will also include: the provision of scientific and management advice, the development of employment and inclusive growth through more sustainable of oceanic and coastal fisheries resources, the fight against Unreported and Unregulated (IUU), fishing, sustainable use of the coastal and marine biodiversity; and capacity building throughout the entire program.
It will be implemented over a five to six years time-frame by regional organisations, in close cooperation with competent authorities from the 15 beneficiary countries: Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federation state of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa
In a organised press conference after the signing ceremony, Head of Unit for East Asia and the Pacific at the European Union Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Jean-Louis Ville reaffirmed the role of EU as a reliable partner of the Pacific.
“Oceans are essential, ensuring food, livelihoods, biodiversity, and climate resilence. They are increasingly under threat through unsustainable management practices, accelerated by negative effects of climate change. So if we do not act today, we compromise all of our tomorrows. Therefore, in our marine partnership with the Pacific, the EU will continue to support every effort to manage the Pacific Ocean more sustainably for local communities and for many generations to come,” he told journalists at the Press Conference in Nauru.
The PEUMP will facilitate sector policy dialogues, involving civil society organisations and non-state actors, including the private sector, at all levels, thus further contributing to ownership and sustainability beyond the lifetime of the programme.
Meanwhile, SPC Director General, Dr. Collin Tukuitonga further highlighted how the program aligns with the notion of a “Blue Pacific” as identified by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders.
“Protecting and strengthening our marine environment is an issue that cuts right to the heart of our region.
“The health of our oceans has a direct impact on the lives of every person who calls the Pacific their home, and remains an invaluable resource for the entire globe. This partnership will provide further support to help ensure that, as stewards of the Pacific, our community is able to manage and preserve our ocean resources with a sustainable future,” Dr. Collin added.