Protecting, keeping oceans healthy on the agenda

By Aruna Lolani ,

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WORKING TOGETHER: Government officials and their supporters are working on ways to protect and conserve Samoa’s oceans.

WORKING TOGETHER: Government officials and their supporters are working on ways to protect and conserve Samoa’s oceans.

Different government Ministries have joined forces to look at ways to protect and keep our oceans healthy.

This was the aim of a training facilitated by Conservation International on the Ocean Health Index programme. Held at the Samoa Meteorology Office at Mulinu’u earlier this week, the Oceans Capacity Building Workshop focused on Conservation International’s support through O.H.I to better monitor progress on various goals relating to oceans.

Assistant Chief Executive Officer for M.E.T, Mulipola Titimaea Ausetalia, said the training was extremely useful for Samoa.

“It’s one of the tools for us to be able to negotiate for resources so that we are able to remedy the situation and to improve the oceans,” he said.

 “We are also looking at building the capacity, how to determine the ocean and help O.H.I. taking into account the biological, physical, chemical and social aspects of it.

 “So this workshop is quite important because all the government ministries who are involved in trying to improve our oceans have come together so we can build capacity.

“For example, here at the M.E.T. office, we are involved in a lot of regional projects, working together with S.P.R.E.P., to work on ocean related projects. 

“Ocean is related to climate, climate is related to weather so it’s important for us to understand, all the physical parameters that determine the ocean and for us to develop certain areas so that we can understand information of oceans, on the weather, on the climate and several other things that we do need to understand.”

Mulipola added that the first workshop they had last year was the launching of the O.H.I. and it was important because now they can scale and write some details as well as looking at determining the O.H.I. in the Pacific countries.

“I think now we can reasonably see the resources we need to see. 

“So that’s why next time we can say in confidence; that this is the state of the ocean around Samoa especially our inclusive economics.”

Senior Manager of O.H.I, Erich Pacheco, said the workshop is about building upon a foundation of ocean conservation in Samoa.

“We are very keen on collaborating with you to set up coordinating mechanisms for managing oceans and coastal resources and supporting you and providing you with all the resources in terms of expertise that we can provide you with to support the implementation of that mechanism,” he said. 

“We understand that being an island nation, your well being is very closely related to the well being of the oceans so your lifestyle, economy, your history and culture are all ocean dependent so when we think of ocean health, we need to think of human health and human well-being. We’re very keen and very excited to be working here to support sustainable development.

“The Ocean Health Index is one of many tools but one thing that separates the O.H.I. from other types of tools is that it really focuses on the management, not solely on the chemical or geophysical or social but what we’re really trying to understand is how all of these things are interacting with one another.

 “We’re trying to shift away from looking at just Fisheries and Biodiversity or social elements but on how they do interact when we change parameters in one element and we make decisions on how all these things affect one another so we’re hoping that the O.H.I. can help guide discussions, policies, regulations, management and help you identify priorities and most importantly help you understand what progress you’re making towards your different objectives and targets.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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