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New UK-Pacific partnership to boost maritime security and ocean management

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The UK Government and the Pacific Community (SPC) are pleased to announce the signing of a three-year £2.4 million (FJ$5.4 million) funding agreement for the Integrated Ocean Management and Maritime Governance Programme.

The SPC, coordinating the work of Maritime Boundaries alongside Pacific countries and territories and consortium of partners, including regional organisations like the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and others, recognises the critical importance this funding brings to the region and sovereign rights of nation states.

This initiative is pivotal for establishing maritime boundaries as an aspect of national sovereignty and economic development, particularly for island nations whose livelihoods are closely tied to the sea.

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At the signing of the MoU, British High Commissioner to Australia and Head of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Government’s Oceania network, Her Excellency Vicki Treadell CMG, MVO, said “As a maritime nation, the UK government is proud to be investing in maritime security and safety across the Pacific. This funding will support Pacific Island Countries as they work to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific and uphold the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

She added, “The agreement builds on the strong maritime partnership between the UK and Pacific nations".

 

This three-year programme (May 2024 – April 2027) will be funded through the UK Integrated Security Fund Pacific programme. The financial support will be used for activities aligned with SPC's plans in the following key areas:

  • Ocean Management.
  • Maritime Boundaries.
  • Maritime Transport.
  • Port Security.
  • Empowering Women in the Maritime Sector.

The Deputy Director-General of SPC, Dr. Paula Vivili, said “In the realm of ocean management, the Blue Pacific is leading by example. With 75 per cent of our maritime zones already established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)—surpassing the global average of 60 per cent—our member countries are actively operationalising these boundaries.”

He added, “Maritime governance is another pillar essential to our regional policies. The socio-economic development of our Blue Pacific Continent heavily relies on the maritime sector, which connects our islands, supports trade, and provides vital services. Yet, this sector faces substantial challenges, including the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance maritime safety.”

We are grateful for the UK Government’s continued support. This funding will allow us to address critical challenges in ocean management and maritime governance, promoting sustainable development for Pacific Island nations,” said Vivili.

Pacific Island Countries across the region, in particular Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu, will benefit from this initiative.

This new UK funding is a significant boost for Pacific Island security and will help to address key challenges in the region ensuring our collective efforts to enhance the lives and security of our people across the region.

About the UK Government:

The United Kingdom has diplomatic missions in New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.



This agreement is funded through the UK Government’s Integrated Security Fund Pacific Programme and was signed by Vicki Treadell, British High Commissioner to Australia as the Head of the Oceania Network.

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Fiji

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