SPC Geoscience Division

Home News & Media Releases Latest Vanuatu and Solomon Islands to conclude historic maritime boundary treaty

Vanuatu and Solomon Islands to conclude historic maritime boundary treaty

E-mail Print PDF

7 October 2016, Port Vila

The Pacific Community (SPC) is welcoming the conclusion of 33 years of negotiations between Vanuatu and Solomon Islands with the signing of a Maritime Boundary Agreement between the countries.

 

A signing ceremony involving the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, the Hon Manasseh Sogavare, and the Prime Minister for Vanuatu, the Hon Charlot Salawai, is expected to take place in northern Vanuatu today.

 

Vanuatu government officials said the landmark agreement will provide legal and jurisdictional certainty for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu for better management of the ocean, while at the same time allowing the two nations’ cultural and historical linkages to remain solid.

 

In congratulating both governments, the Director of SPC’s Geoscience Division, Professor Michael Petterson, said it was also a special and rewarding occasion for SPC staff who had supported the complex negotiations over many years.

 

“SPC’s Regional Maritime Boundaries Unit has been working with technical and legal teams from Pacific Island countries on the negotiations, alongside the Forum Fisheries Agency, Commonwealth Secretariat, the UN Environment Programme Grid Arendal and the Australian Government,” Prof Petterson said.

 

“It’s been a privilege for SPC to help equip government staff with expertise and skills necessary for these maritime boundary negotiations since early 2000, and we’re all proud that capacity exists in the region to reach a successful conclusion such as this,” he said.

 

In the Pacific Islands region, there are approximately 49 shared and overlapping Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), and almost 70 per cent of these have been successfully negotiated and signed by the respective leaders.

 

The treaty between Vanuatu and Solomon Islands will be the 36th Maritime Boundary Agreement to be signed to date.

 

The successful conclusion of this latest maritime agreement also fulfils one of the regional ocean policies, namely the Pacific Oceanscape Framework’s key strategic priorities to formalise maritime boundaries and secure rights over ocean resources.

 

Vanuatu officials this week acknowledged the assistance and technical support provided by SPC and other development partners over more than three decades.

 


Media contact:
Emily Artack       Maritime Boundaries Unit,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it +679 3381 377, ext 36275

 

Useful link:
SPC’s Regional Maritime Boundaries Unit:  http://gsd.spc.int/regionalmaritimeboundaries

Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2016 14:39  

Newsflash

Island Business: June 2013 Dionisia Tabureguci - Year after year, earthquakes and tropical cyclones have battered a number of small islands countries in the Pacific region, some to such a degree that thousands of lives are lost and millions of dollars in damages are incurred.

They have become regular visitors to the region, their tendency to disrupt national planning and put pressure on national budgets becoming as much a concern as their propensity to cut swathes through national population and bring untold trauma. Not surprisingly, scientific studies have categorised some of them as among the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to their exposure to natural hazards and indeed, while earthquakes and cyclones have been identified as the region’s two chief nemeses, the region is not spared from other forms like flooding, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

As momentum increases in the region to address their ravaging impacts, a new research is shedding new light on just how exposed Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) are to earthquakes and tropical cyclones, projecting an average annual bill of some US$278 million for 14 PICs from damages they will sustain from these two forms of natural disasters. Known as the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI), the multi-donor-supported project is administered by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Applied Science and Technology Division (SOPAC).

It uses a combination of historical data and new mapping technology to give vulnerable islands nations in the region improved tools for planning and preparedness.