Leaders call for regional Ocean Science Center

NOUMEA, New Caledonia—Pacific Island countries and territories at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s 10th governing body conference in Noumea have called for the establishment of a Pacific Community Center for Ocean Science.

The center, to be hosted at SPC, will draw on the scientific and technical expertise across the organization’s different work programs, including fisheries and geoscience, and look to complement ongoing regional efforts for the sustainable management of the Pacific region’s oceanic resources.

The decision was made as SPC’s 26 country and territory members deliberated on the strategic direction of SPC as the organization marked its 70th year of operations. 

The more than 40 country and territory representatives—including several heads of state—as well as development partners contributed to the thematic discussion centered on the theme “Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development,” with keynote addresses by the Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine; the European Union’s high-level facilitator for outreach activities on the post-Cotonou agreement, Pascal Lamy; and the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano.

In this regard, Pacific Island representatives congratulated SPC on its technical cooperation agreement with IAEA and encouraged further exploration of innovative partnerships to support sustainable development priorities and efforts in the Pacific Islands region.

They recognized SPC’s achievements over the past 18 months and has encouraged the organization to continue of its path of prioritization with a focus on high impact areas consistent with its mandate and capabilities. 

The Conference also re-appointed Dr. Colin Tukuitonga as SPC director-general for a further two-year term.

The 10th Conference of the Pacific Community concluded with a 70th anniversary celebration with its 26 member countries and territories and partners.

Cook Islands will host the 11th SPC Conference in 2019. (SPC)

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