30 August 2016
South Pacific-UK marine science collaboration has been further strengthened with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UK Government’s Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and The University of the South Pacific (USP). The agreement will explore a range of different partnership opportunities in the field of marine science.
The MoU was signed at the USP Emalus Campus in Port Vila, Vanuatu in a ceremony attended by Cefas, leading academic University staff, students and members of the public. The Hon, Silas Bule Melve, MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Education Govt. of Vanuatu was the Chief Guest and Prof. Eric Colvin, Head of the USP School of Law, was the Guest of Honour on the occasion.
Hon, Silas Bule Melve, MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Govt. of Vanuatu, stressed the need to improve scientific understanding of the environmental impacts affecting Vanuatu, and safeguard the marine environment for the generations to come.
Dr Brett Lyons, Scientific lead for the Cefas team working in the South Pacific said:
“Cefas is building a collaborative network of research partners across the South Pacific, in order to develop and deliver a series of programmes based around sustainable use of the marine environment.
“This MoU will formalise the excellent working relations between Cefas and USP that have been developed under the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme. One of the key goals of this programme is to develop capacity within Small Island Developing States. By working closely with the University we can identify development opportunities for students. This includes designing projects that will allow them to gain the specific skills and expertise required as they transition into the various Government Ministries and Departments involved in maritime policy and regulation.”
Dr Krishna Kotra of The University of the South Pacific said:
“We are extremely pleased to sign the MoU with Cefas today. It opens the door to closer working ties between our two institutes. Most importantly, it provides the students of the USP exposure to the world class science research being conducted in the South Pacific. This will form a valuable addition to the academic services we offer and will help us equip them with the tools they need as they move into diverse roles managing ocean policy and governance across the Pacific.”
Dr Michelle Devlin, lead Cefas Water Quality Scientist added:
“The MoU also gives Cefas access to laboratory facilities and a pool of local research scientists, which is a great aid when delivering science on the other side of the world. This also allows scientists from both USP and Cefas to explore joint funding opportunities in areas that will mutually benefit both parties.”
The MoU builds on the work undertaken by Cefas on behalf of the UK Government funded Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme. A package of measures was announced last year by the British Prime Minister to help Small Island Developing States alleviate poverty by preserving their marine environments and harnessing maritime resources.
The Programme is being delivered on behalf of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) by a partnership of world leading UK government marine expertise: the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), Cefas and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
Commenting on the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme, UK Acting High Commissioner Paul Dryden said:
“The CME Programme aims to ensure marine resources in Commonwealth SIDS are better understood and managed, with the aim of growing marine economies that create jobs, drive national economic growth, reduce poverty, ensure food security and build resilience. By providing training and support to Commonwealth Small States institutions, as well as addressing economic and environmental needs, the programme seeks to ensure a lasting legacy of growing self-sufficiency in Commonwealth Small States for their research needs.”
Small Island Developing States within the Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean regions are in scope to benefit from the Programme. Cefas scientists have been working in Vanuatu to provide an assessment of water quality and the impact of pollution that will enable the Vanuatu Government preserve and develop its fisheries, aquaculture and tourist industries.
Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu are also set to benefit. National experts from across the Pacific will be invited to attend a three-day workshop to be held in Fiji in November, aiming to further collaboration and resource-sharing across the region.
1. Picture caption left to right: Hon, Silas Bule Melve, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Education, Dr Krishna Kotra, The University of South Pacific and Dr Brett Lyons, The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.
2. The Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme will provide SIDS with accurate hydrographic and scientific data relating to their marine environment. The CME Programme will also enable training and capacity building for Commonwealth SIDS national bodies involved in the research and management of marine resources. The information collected will be used to inform the development of national plans for the marine economy, allowing SIDS to develop economies and livelihoods based on sustainably managed marine resources and to mitigate associated environmental and economic risks. SIDs are in scope from the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean Regions. These countries fulfil the project criteria since they are Commonwealth SIDS and are able to receive UK Government Official Development Assistance.
3. For more information about CME Programme contact firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @CME_Prog
4. For more information about the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science visit www.cefas.co.uk or follow @CefasGovUK
5. For more information about United Kingdom Hydrographic Office visit www.gov.uk/ukho
6. For more information about the National Oceanography Centre visit www.noc.ac.uk