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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pacific Islands need to link science use and sustainable management of resources

By Moffat Mamu

There is a need to link science use and sustainable management to protect the resource base within sound policy framework. This was highlighted by the Director of the South Pacific Applied Science Commission (SOPAC) Cristelle Pratt yesterday at the opening of the SOPAC Governing Council in Honiara where some 200 delegates from around the region including scientists, technical experts, ministers, some geologists and university students, are meeting.

Ms Pratt said we need to recognise more and more that there is a need to link science use and management to protect the resource base within sound policy framework that reaches from regional to national to local levels, which in essence makes the sustainable use of natural resource everyone’s responsibility.

“It is also an absolutely fundamental and critical element for sustainable development, which is the mission of every Pacific Island country and territory. I am sure that you will agree that due to the interdisciplinary and multi-level nature of this challenge we must continue to provide the profile and attention that natural resources governance deserves,” she said.

Ms Pratt explained that SOPAC has evolved since its inception in 1972 into an organisation whose mandate then was to support South Pacific countries in offshore mineral prospecting and petroleum exploitation to an organisation that now has a membership that reaches and includes countries from the west Central Pacific. Not only that but it seeks to provide technical support to its member countries towards achieving sustainable development and to reducing poverty and enhancing their people resilience and livelihoods.

She said this is done through three key technical areas of ocean and Islands eco-system management of natural resources, community lifelines of energy, water and sanitation and information communication technologies and disaster risk management to build safer and more resilient communities. With this broadening she said the Council had agreed in Samoa last year that it would be timely to review and amend the SOPAC Agreement and this will be one of several policy matters for the current session.

Source: Solomon Star

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