16 October, Honiara, Solomon Islands – Representatives from key Ministries and non-government organisations met in Honiara to plan activities to support Government and coastal communities achieve their protected marine species conservation priorities. Participants agreed the activities should focus on reducing the catch of endangered marine species such as turtles and sharks in offshore fisheries, providing support to coastal communities to monitor and protect endangered species and strengthening the capacity of government staff to help ensure that the Solomon Islands meet their obligations under the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
The collaborative workshop was initiated by the Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster & Management and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) as part of the five-year Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme.
Funded by the European Union (EU) and the Government of Sweden, the EUR 45 million PEUMP Programme promotes sustainable management and sound ocean governance for food security and economic growth, while addressing climate change resilience and conservation of marine biodiversity. It follows a comprehensive approach, integrating issues related oceanic fisheries, coastal fisheries, community development, marine conservation and capacity building under one single regional action.
SPREP is leading Key Result Area 5 of the PEUMP Programme to support the governments of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu in the sustainable management of coastal and marine biodiversity. In the Solomon Islands PEUMP has contributed funds towards the development of the National Ocean Policy and will provide ongoing support to the Government of Solomon Islands as they move towards developing a marine spatial plan.
The workshop was officially opened by the Undersecretary Corporate Services in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Mr Patteson Lusi, who stressed the importance of the task that lay ahead of them in protecting our ocean, “At the national level we are strengthening our legal framework and policies, but also on surveillance, compliance and enforcement where much needed efforts are still to be done. We have actively considered how the PEUMP Programme can help us in achieving our priorities and look forward to working with SPREP in the coming years to deliver them” he said.
The EU Ambassador to the Solomon Islands and the Pacific, H.E Sujiro Seam said, "Ensuring effective conservation of protected marine species is a major challenge that requires an inclusive approach. National administrations, non-state actors, coastal communities (including women and youth) and the private sector have key roles to play to mitigate the threat to marine life. The EU therefore commends the national authorities for the collaborative approach they initiated with facilitation by SPREP, and strongly believes that the support provided through PEUMP will boost conservation efforts to positively complement the on-going initiative led by the Government of Solomon Islands".
Åsa Hedén, Head of the Swedish Regional Development Cooperation for Asia and the Pacific welcomes the inclusive process that the Government of Solomon Islands is undertaking with support of PEUMP, which recognises the diversity of stakeholder’s voices, needs and rights, which is central in the sustainable management of natural resources, conservation of biodiversity and protection of marine species.
At the close of the meeting, Joseph Hurutarau, Deputy Director Conservation at the Environment Conservation Division, said, “We are committed to addressing our international obligations under CITES and other Conventions for targeted and priority marine species. We have identified activities to be funded by PEUMP that will build our capacity to deliver them.”
SPREP’s programme coordinator, Jamie Davies, said: “We greatly appreciate the time dedicated by the experts at this meeting to identify and prioritise activities that will deliver positive change for coastal communities and marine biodiversity. There is a lot to do before the Programme ends in December 2022 so I’m looking forward to supporting the Solomon Island Government to get these activities underway”.
SPREP’s work under the PEUMP Programme consists of eight integrated areas consisting of marine spatial planning; integrated ‘ridge to reef’ ecosystem strategies and coastal zone management planning; development and integration of climate change adaptation strategies into coastal community plans; assessment of bycatch of endangered species and extinction risk; development and implementation of bycatch mitigation strategies; capacity development through research grants to citizens of Pacific island countries; support for community monitoring and protection of endangered species; and capacity development of Non-Detrimental Findings process for CITES partners. Human rights and gender equality will be core considerations in the development and implementation of each of these components. (ENDS)
The BIEM Inception meeting was held from 10 – 11 October 2019 at the Bethel Conference Centre, Honiara, Solomon Islands. For more information please contact Jamie Davies, KRA 5 Coordinator, PEUMP Programme, at [email protected].