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Vanuatu and Solomon Islands to conclude historic maritime boundary treaty

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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

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has embarked on a programme to build capacity in mapping land/forest cover in Fiji using very high resolution satellite images. The programme has three phases consisting of both theory and practical work, including ‘ground truthing’ (on-site verification of data from satellite imagery) exercises to be held later this month.

The training, which is jointly organised by SPC’s Land Resources Division (LRD) and its Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) Division, involves participants from the Fiji Department of Forestry and SPC.

The ground truthing exercise will be undertaken in Drawa – a model area for sustainable natural resource management located in Vanua Levu that covers about 6,400 hectares of indigenous forest.

The first phase of the training exercise focuses on enhancing and analysing satellite images of Drawa forest to classify it into different forest types and using the information to conduct forest inventory for the estimation of forest carbon stock per unit area of each forest type.