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EU and Pacific boost their cooperation in deep-sea minerals

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The European Union (EU) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) have today signed a Contribution Agreement worth €4.4 million for a project titled 'Deep Sea Minerals in the Pacific Islands Region: a Legal and Fiscal Framework for Sustainable Resource Management'. This project is funded under the 10th European Development Fund and aims to further the effective management and use of deep-sea mineral resources of the Pacific.

'The Ocean and its mineral resources is a most valuable asset for the Pacific. The aim of the project we sign today is to support the people of this region to make efficient and sustainable use of this great asset by fostering better governance and use of marine non-living resources of the Pacific,' said Christian Leffler, Deputy Director­-General of the European Commission's Directorate General for Development at the official signing ceremony in Port Vila.

The EU-funded project is particularly timely and relevant, given the fact that there has been an upsurge in exploration of seabed mineral resources within the territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the Pacific Island Countries in recent years.

Mineral raw materials play an essential role in the world economy and are increasingly demanded for the development of high-tech products and new technologies. 'The rising demand driven by emerging markets will potentially generate significant wealth for the region, provided there is a legal framework in place which carefully regulates the sector and returns a fair share to the government and the people in terms of tax revenues, employment and indirect economic activities,' said Jimmie Rodgers, General Director of SPC.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 17:10  

Newsflash

Rarotonga, Cook Islands 29/08/12 -  At the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum meeting here in Rarotonga this week, a unique event was witnessed when the Leaders of seven (7) Pacific Island Countries signed and exchanged a total of eight (8) Maritime Boundary Agreements which will bring state-of-the-art accuracy and legal clarity to the boundary positions between several overlapping jurisdictions of neighbouring Pacific Island Countries.

This multiple signing event is a remarkable testament of the close kinship and excellent neighbourly relationships between Pacific Islands Countries and underlines their ability to work together in a spirit of equitable and unified progress. By clearly establishing these boundaries and zones under domestic and international law, as set out in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the signing of these agreements will provide the foundation for improved governance, protection, conservation and management of resources within respective national jurisdictions.

The seven (7) bilateral treaties were signed by the leaders of the Cook Islands, Niue, Kiribati, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Nauru and the Marshall Islands. In addition, the leaders of Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Nauru agreed to an additional tri-lateral treaty concerning the determination of a point where the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of all three (3) countries intersect, referred to as a “Tri-junction point”.

The successful preparations of these agreements leading up to the signing event have been a result of the excellent collaborative work between the respective technical and legal country teams and the regional coordination and collaboration with the Applied Geoscience & Technology Division (SOPAC) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Geoscience Australia, the Government of Australia’s Attorney General’s Office and the Commonwealth Secretariat. The regional funding support towards these SPC activities is provided by AusAID.