The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union will establish a community of practice for Pacific Islands' policy officers and legislative drafters involved in deep sea minerals.
The new initiative is a key outcome of an intensive regional training workshop on deep sea minerals policy formulation and legislative drafting hosted by the Government of Samoa and organised with SPC in Apia last week.
The virtual community of practitioners will usefully exchange practices, experiences, questions and challenges with regards to the development and implementation of their deep sea mineral policies and legislation.
The Director of SPC's Geoscience Division, Professor Mike Petterson, said the initiative will enable policy officers and legislative drafters to share and discuss the future development of deep sea mineral regulatory frameworks, including the strengths and weaknesses in existing deep sea mineral policies and legislation, and to grasp whether there is a need for further development and changes.
“Additionally it will ensure that there's a better understanding of the needs and priorities of the Pacific region as a whole, as well as the ability to identify possible areas of regional cooperation and information sharing for deep sea mineral activities,” Prof Petterson said.
The new virtual community will be facilitated through a blog or portal managed by SPC as part of its European Union-funded Deep Sea Minerals Project.
“The community of practice proposed within the project will enhance the governance of deep sea minerals in the region,” the Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs, said. “It is another effort to ensure that deep sea minerals in the Pacific are managed sustainably and we are supportive of such efforts.”
Initiated in 2011, the project has been assisting Pacific Island countries in accessing all available information and for those who wish to engage in deep sea mineral activities, by supporting informed governance in accordance with international law, with particular attention to the protection of the marine environment and securing equitable financial arrangements for the benefit of Pacific people.
As one of its key result areas, the project aims to assist Pacific Island countries in the formulation of national policy, legislation and regulations to ensure the responsible governance and careful management of deep sea mineral resources.
The workshop in Apia, Samoa, was attended by 70 participants from 13 Pacific Island countries.