Representatives convened for a global knowledge exchange focused on advancing sustainable ocean management and Marine Spatial Planning.
Ocean experts from more than ten states and nations worldwide convened in Nadi for a landmark week-long summit focused on collaboration to advance sustainable ocean management and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). The event brought together practitioners to share strategies for ocean management that benefit environments, communities, and economies in island nations.
Marine Spatial Planning is a public, stakeholder-driven and science-based process that uses information about ocean resources and human uses to determine the best uses of an ocean space through a comprehensive management plan. With more nations committing to the global goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030, Marine Spatial Planning is a valuable tool for governments and communities to implement these targets and determine the best areas of the ocean to protect.
The week-long workshop provided a unique platform for practitioners to share their national MSP programmes, exchange knowledge, expertise, and best practices, and explore innovative approaches to ocean management.
Participants included esteemed ocean experts from Australia, the Azores, Bermuda, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Maldives, Mexico, New Caledonia, Palau, Portugal, Samoa, Tonga, the United States, and Vanuatu, bringing together diverse backgrounds and experiences. Together, participants actively worked to find innovative solutions to common challenges and identify opportunities for future collaboration and support.
Hon. Sakiusa Tubuna, Assistant Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister, provided the event’s welcome address. “Even though we are different, the ocean brings us together. Together, we aim to protect and manage 30% of the oceans. Stay strong: by working together and being committed, we can ensure healthy oceans and thriving communities.”
“Marine resource management needs to address all of the multiple activities that take place and affect the health and integrity of the coastal ecosystems. Marine Spatial Planning provides us the best means to do that,” said Dr. Joeli Veitayaki, Blue Prosperity Fiji Co-Primary Investigator.
Blue Prosperity Fiji Country Manager Arthur Sokimi facilitated discussions throughout the week and shared Fiji’s progress thus far. According to him, “this workshop comes at a critical time for the Blue Prosperity Fiji programme. Our team has just concluded a successful ocean science expedition that will help us better understand the status of our ocean and marine resources. The results from this expedition combined with the stories and learnings from our partners at this workshop will greatly contribute to the future success of Blue Prosperity Fiji.”
Waitt Institute Executive Director Dr. Kathryn Mengerink, emphasized the importance of collective efforts stating, “The exchange of ideas and expertise between these leaders will shape the future of sustainable ocean management worldwide.”
The workshop concluded with a shared determination from each country to implement the knowledge and learnings gained. By leveraging Marine Spatial Planning, these countries are taking proactive steps toward safeguarding their marine resources to enhance the wellbeing of their communities and economies.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS
The Blue Prosperity Coalition is a coalition of NGOs, academic institutions, foundations, and other organizations working together to assist committed governments in developing and implementing sustainable marine spatial plans to protect the environment and improve the economy at the same time.
Blue Prosperity Fiji is a programme to support a healthy ocean, thriving communities, and prosperous economies in Fiji. The programme will focus on protecting ocean habitats while supporting ocean industries and sustainable fisheries. Led by the Government of Fiji, the Blue Prosperity Fiji programme will incorporate community consultations, scientific research, and traditional knowledge to sustainably manage Fiji's ocean.
The Waitt Institute, a non-profit organisation with committed governments and local communities to create and implement sustainable ocean plans to benefit people, the economy, and the environment. The Waitt Institute brings technical expertise, funding, and tools to support each country’s vision related to marine spatial planning, blue economy, and sustainable fisheries. The Waitt Institute is the founding member and organizing body of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, which currently has Blue Prosperity partnerships with the Azores, Barbuda, Bermuda, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Maldives, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.