Partnerships to protect our Oceans: The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, National Geographic Society and the Waitt Foundation team together to support regional efforts for sustainable and profitable ocean resource management
Apia, Samoa (August 29, 2014) – The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), the National Geographic Society (NGS) and the Waitt Foundation have announced a new partnership to promote marine resource conservation and the associated sustainable economic development of Small Island Developing States in the Pacific region.
As Pacific Island communities are uniquely dependent on the ocean for their sustenance and livelihood, the partnership is vital in preserving the Pacific Ocean’s marine ecosystems for the sustainable development of all Pacific nations.
The focus of their joint work will be on biodiversity and ecosystem management to promote further expansion of the Pacific’s marine reserve network and the repair of damaged ecosystems through a work programme to be executed jointly through 2015-16.
The partnership was announced at The Benefits of Marine Reserves, a parallel event to the Third International Conference on Sustainable Development held at the SPREP compound in Apia organised by the National Geographic Society and the Waitt Foundation with support from SPREP.
“SPREP is delighted to be a signatory to one of the first partnerships to be announced at this UNSIDS meeting. Pacific island governments are leading the way globally in marine conservation. As the regional agency charged with coordinating environmental management and protection, innovative collaborations such as this can only help to achieve the region’s shared vision. We bring experience, knowledge and regional outreach to this arrangement and our partners bring resources that we can only dream of and a global outreach. We all bring an unwavering commitment, and our whole effort will be considerably greater than the sum of its parts.” – Mr. David Sheppard, Director-General of SPREP.
“The Pristine Seas project has been working for several years with governments in the Pacific region, including Kiribati, Pitcairn and Palau, to create large-scale no-take marine reserves. We are pleased to be partnering now with SPREP and the Waitt Foundation to help address some of the practical issues around creating marine reserves and to build capacity in the region to benefit local economies and marine ecosystems.” – Ms. Monica Medina, senior director of international ocean policy for Pristine Seas at National Geographic Society.
“Having successfully worked with SPREP on their recent BIORAP in Vava’u, Tonga, and in close partnership with Dr. Enric Sala of the National Geographic Society on conservation science expeditions around the world, the Waitt Foundation is excited to further this collaboration amongst our organizations. Our Foundation’s aim is to support countries and communities reach their own conservation goals, and this is an exciting new pathway to continue to partner with governments throughout the Pacific Oceania region.” – Mr. Jacob James, managing director, Waitt Foundation.
The work in these areas will focus on practical issues and capacity building to assist SPREP members with the creation of effective no-take marine reserves, including implementation of efficient and effective monitoring and enforcement programs, combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and the creation of new sustainable tourism revenues based on marine reserves.
This partnership seeks to assist governments and communities to help implement effective management of their ocean resources in the long-term to help restore the health and resilience of these unique ecosystems using a combination of solutions, such as marine reserves, improved fisheries management, and new ecotourism models.
About The Waitt Foundation
The Waitt Foundation, established by Gateway, Inc. co-founder Ted Waitt in 1993, specializes in public-private partnership and supports a variety of national and international programs concentrating on ocean health. Partnering with unique coalitions of government, foundations & philanthropists, NGOs, academics, and business, the Waitt Foundation supports high impact projects with the ultimate aim to “restore our oceans to full productivity.” Learn more at www.waittfoundation.org and @WaittFdn.
About the National Geographic Pristine Seas Project
National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project is an exploration, research, and media project to find, survey, and help protect the last wild places in the ocean. These pristine places are largely unknown,but long-distance fishing fleets have started to encroach on them. By combining exploration, scientific and economic research, communications and partnerships, Pristine Seas helps to inspire country leaders to save these places before they vanish.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is the regional coordinating organisation for the protection and sustainable development of the Pacific island environment. SPREP was established by its member governments in 1992 to support cooperation and coordination across the region. SPREP works closely with its 26 member countries and territories – along with partners, donors and local communities – to deliver on environmental management and sustainable developing in the region in four priority areas of Biodiversity and ecosystem management, climate change, environmental monitoring and governance, waste management and pollution control.