Regional bodies sign historic marine partnership with EU

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) signed a landmark agreement with the European Union to help promote sustainable management and sound ocean governance in the Pacific Region. Picture: SUPPLIED

FOUR major regional bodies today signed a landmark agreement with the European Union to help promote sustainable management and sound ocean governance in the Pacific Region.

The agreement, known as the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP), was signed between the European Union and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) including The University of the South Pacific (USP)

TheĀ  agreement signing took place on the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders Summit in Nauru earlier today.

The program addresses challenges such as the increasing depletion of coastal fisheries resources, the threats to marine biodiversity, including negative impacts of climate change and disasters, the uneven contribution of oceanic fisheries to national economic development; the need for improved education and training in the sector, and the need to mainstream a rights-based approach and to promote greater recognition of gender issues within the sector.

The five year program is funded by the EU (EUR 35 million or $F86.44m) with additional support from the government of Sweden (EUR 10 million or $F24.7m).

The program provides direct assistance through regional organisations to support regional and national level activities in the Pacific.

Head of Unit for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific at the European Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development Jean-Louis Ville reaffirmed the role of the European Union as a reliable partner of the Pacific.

“Oceans are essential, ensuring food, livelihoods, biodiversity and climate resilience. They are increasingly under threat through unsustainable management practices, accelerated by the negative effects of climate change. So if we do not act today, we compromise all of our tomorrows,” he said.

“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 said.

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 program.

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