Work Underway to Implement National Ocean Policy

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A collaborative effort to plan and implement a Solomon Islands National Ocean Policy is being formulated to lead the development of a Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) for the entire Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country.

The task is led by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) plus other ministries, including the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and its stakeholder partners want to develop an ocean management system, through an integrated process that fully recognizes and utilizes the great potential of ocean resources.

Team Leader and Chief Desk Officer for Oceans/Climate Change Desk for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET), Gladys Luahiti said there are many things happening in our ocean and most of the time they happen in the sectorial levels only.

“Usually, most people look at the ocean through the lens of the sector and do not have the bigger picture about it and how all this work.

“People need to understand the ocean in order to work together with the government to manage the ocean,” Ms. Luahiti said.

Agnetha Vave Karamui from the Ministry of Environment said some communities look after their offshore and coastal areas by planning to ban harvesting of sea resources in certain areas identified.

“But as time goes on, people tend to ignore the rules and start harvesting again.

“There is a need for the MSP to be implemented to help people understand the importance of the ocean and take responsibility of managing the ocean,” Mrs. Karamui said.

The vision for the MSP is to promote a healthy, resilient, secure and productive ocean that supports sustainable use and development for the benefit of the people of Solomon Islands now and into the future.

The aim of the MSP is to roll out a nation-wide awareness and planning process that commences this month to October 2019, targeting Honiara and the other nine provinces throughout the country including other selected communities.

MSP’s benefits and impacts are to; strengthen integrated ocean governance, achieve national, regional and global ocean-related sustainable development, achieve goals on socio-economic development, food security, climate change resilience and adaptation, environmental protection and conservation of biodiversity, protection from natural disasters and national security.

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Lynda Wate
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