Marine Atlas: Maximizing Benefits for Vanuatu

VANUATU’S COMMITMENT TO MARINE CONSERVATION Vanuatu is committed to sustainably managing and conserving its marine values, so much so that its efforts in this respect extend beyond its international obligation of conserving 10 per cent of its waters by 2020.

comprising the Prime Minister’s Office and six min- istries that have a vested interest in the ocean:

the United Nations General Assembly Peter Thom- son, from Fiji, at the closing of the United Nations Ocean Conference. The 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously agreed to a set of measures that aim to reverse the decline of the ocean’s health. The “Call for Action” outcome document, together with more than 1,300 commitments to action, marks a breakthrough in the global approach to the management and conservation of the ocean. Rec- ognizing that the well-being of present and future generations is inextricably linked to the health and productivity of the ocean, countries collectively agreed in the Call to Action “to act decisively and urgently, convinced that our collective action will make a meaningful difference to our people, to our planet and to our prosperity.” The second highest number of commitments come from the South Pacific, highlighting not only the importance of the ocean to Pacific Island countries, but also their commitment to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (SDG 14). Vanuatu is calling for action to conserve valuable life below the surface, within its own waters and beyond.

Vanuatu has long realized the many values it derives from its sea, and the importance of sus- tainably managing and planning its uses (see also previous chapter). Thus, in 1993, Vanuatu joined many other countries in signing and ratifying the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), under which Vanuatu has accepted inter- national responsibilities and obligations, including Aichi Target 11: “By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particu- lar importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider land- scape and seascape.” However, considering the great importance of its marine resources, Vanuatu has gone even further. It is the first Pacific Island country to have a Na- tional Ocean Policy, which frames the overarching structure of the management of the ocean around the traditional meeting house, the Nakamal. The country has voluntarily committed to establishing a national, multiple-use Marine Spatial Plan and eco- logically representative, climate-resilient network of MPAs. Vanuatu will also establish a National Ocean Office within its Ministry of Foreign Affairs to implement the National Ocean Policy. This shows how seriously Vanuatu takes the role of maintaining its rich marine values for all Ni-Vanua- tu, including future generations to come. In 2015, the National Committee on Maritime Boundary Delimitation, through the Ministry of For- eign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, established the Ocean Policy Subcommit- tee. This Subcommittee is continuing its work as the Ocean Policy Implementation Subcommittee, Voluntary commitments Voluntary Commitments for The Ocean Conference are initiatives voluntarily undertaken by key stakeholders individ- ually or in partnership that aim to help implement Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.

• Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Coop- eration and External Trade (Department of For- eign Affairs, Maritime Division) (Co-Chair of the Ocean Policy Implementation Subcommittee) • Ministry of Climate Change, Meteorology, Environment, Geohazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Risk Management (Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation, National Advisory Board on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction)(Co-Chair of the Ocean Policy Implementation Subcommittee) • Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fish- eries and Biosecurity (Department of Fisheries) • Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (De- partment of Geology and Mines) • Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (Department of Ports and Harbour) • Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (Department of Finance and Treasury) • Prime Minister’s Office The Ocean Policy Implementation Subcommittee works closely with other ministries such as the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Tourism and Indus- try (Department of Tourism), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Community Services (Department of Provincial Affairs) and the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, as well as other non-governmental stake- holders and experts. The Ocean Policy Subcommittee produced the Pa- cific’s first National Ocean Policy, which the Ocean Policy Implementation Subcommittee will continue to implement. The vision of the Ocean Policy is to conserve and sustain a healthy and wealthy ocean for the people and culture of Vanuatu, today and tomorrow. This shows that Vanuatu is committed to sustainably managing and conserving its marine values. In this spirit, Vanuatu submitted six Voluntary Commit- ments to the United Nations Ocean Conference in June 2017, focusing on ecosystems management and conservation, as well as integrated area-based governance. “The Ocean Conference has changed our relation- ship with the ocean. Henceforth none can say they were not aware of the harm humanity has done to the ocean’s health. We are now working around the world to restore a relationship of balance and respect towards the ocean,” said the President of

Voluntary Commitment Title


Description and focus

National Marine Spatial Plan for Vanuatu


To develop and implement a national, multiple-use Marine Spatial Plan with a wide range of objectives.

Network of marine protected areas for Vanuatu


To develop a national, ecologically representative, climate-resilient network of MPAs, including highly protected areas.

Establishment of the National Ocean Office


To institutionalize the National Ocean Office within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to im- plement the National Ocean Policy of Vanuatu.



Made with FlippingBook Publishing Software