SPC works on next phase of maritime boundaries

Ministry of Defence, National Security and Policing permanent secretary Manasa Lesuma (second right) and director of geoscience, energy and maritime at the Pacifi c Community Dr Andrew Jones with participants during the Fiji maritime boundaries workshop in Suva yesterday. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

The Pacific Community (SPC) is working with partners to design the next phase of the Pacific Maritime Boundaries Project post-2021.

SPC director geoscience, energy and maritime division Dr Andrew Jones said this would focus on technical work to conclude boundaries, support extended continental shelf submissions, and look at the “next stage” applications of maritime boundaries to critical economic sectors, human security, cultural heritage and migration.

He said policing and strengthening national and regional security and accessing benefits from fisheries, minerals, marine conservation and maritime transport all relied on certainty of our maritime boundaries.

“These are not just lines on a map,” he said. Dr Jones said Pacific leaders had committed to a collective effort to finalise the delimitation of maritime zones.

However, he said, the remaining 13 shared boundaries would require an even greater collective effort than we have shown as a region up until now.

“We simply must ensure the Pacific’s maritime boundaries cannot be challenged or reduced as a result of sea level rise or climate change.”

Ministry of Defence, National Security and Policing permanent secretary Manasa Lesuma, while officiating at the opening of the Fiji National Maritime Boundaries workshop yesterday, thanked SPC in the work they undertake in providing technical support to the Pacific Small Island Developing States in the mapping and implementation of maritime boundaries within the region.

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