Oct 22, 2019 Last Updated 2:59 AM, Oct 16, 2019
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People focus of multi-sectoral approach

CRGA 42—the forty-second annual meeting of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s governing body—ended with a sense of renewed dynamism for the region’s principal technical and scientific agency. SPC’s expansion in recent years to cover around 20 sectors gives it a strong edge in being able to provide its Pacific Islands members with an integrated multi-sectoral approach to development. This multi-sectoral approach was at the heart of discussions at the meeting of CRGA (Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations) at SPC’s headquarters in Noumea from 11 to 16 November. CRGA is a committee of SPC’s governing body, the Conference of the Pacific Community, which meets every two years.

Government representatives from SPC’s 26 member countries, and observers from the European Union and development partners, attended the meeting, which was chaired by France. Highlighting their integrated approach, the heads of three of SPC’s technical divisions—Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC), Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems, and Economic Development—presented a joint paper on ‘Maximising benefits from our ocean’. To support Pacific Islands countries and territories in maximising sustainable benefits from the region’s oceanic resources, these SPC programmes are working together and with partners across sectors such as fisheries, maritime transport, establishment of maritime boundaries and potential exploitation of deep-sea minerals. Each of these sectors has significant economic and environmental implications for SPC’s Pacific Islands members.

Head of the United States delegation, Jeffrey Robertson, commended the technical services, saying SPC was providing ‘world-class scientific support’ for its Pacific Islands members. Kiribati High Commissioner to Fiji, Reteta Nikuata-Rimon, who was vice-chairperson of the meeting, said: “The ocean presents opportunities and challenges and SPC is addressing both. Kiribati is interested in value-adding and we recently started a tuna loining venture with assistance from SPC. “We’re grateful for the assistance to provide surveillance of our exclusive economic zone, the shipping feeder service, sea safety issues and maritime boundaries. The cross-sectoral approach is providing much-needed help.”

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