The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, is the new Chairman of the Noumea Convention.
Ulu takes over from outgoing chair, Mike Walsh.
The decision was made last week during the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (C.O.P) to the Noumea Convention, for which S.P.R.E.P is the Secretariat. The meeting was part of the build up to S.P.R.E.P’s 28th Meeting of Officials, which opened last night.
Nine members of the Noumea Convention attended, namely Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, France, Republic of the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the United States of America.
Leota Kosi Latu, Director General of S.P.R.E.P, welcomed the election of Ulu as the new Chair of the Convention for the next two years and acknowledged the efforts of Mr. Walsh for his role as Chair since 2015.
Ulu said the effects of human activities continue to threaten our biological resources both directly and indirectly.
“As the Framework for Pacific Regionalism recognises the countries and territories of the region are linked by the ocean, its conservation and sustainable management is of critical importance to us all,” he said.
“The Noumea Convention is a vital tool in achieving this. The challenge of how we best work together to ensure the sustainable use of our oceans, while protecting our marine biodiversity and ecosystems needs to be highlighted in the application of the Convention.”
The Noumea Convention provides a legal instrument to ensure that environmental management and sustainable development of natural resources is implemented throughout the Pacific. Since the Convention came into force in 1990, there have been increasing challenges and issues faced by the Pacific region.
The number of governments present in Samoa reflects the commitment from the Parties, which is reflected in the work undertaken since the last COP meeting in 2015 to address the challenges of environmental management and pollution control in the region.
“The activities of the Parties and the Secretariat achieved under the Convention, often with shoestring budgets, reflected the true value of the Convention,” said Leota.
“There have been increasing demands and emerging pressures within our regions natural resources not just from within the region, but from multiple global scale drivers. The Noumea Convention has to address many of the pressing and emerging issues we face today such as climate change and ocean acidification.”
The main achievements and key successes of the Noumea Convention over the last two years have been in the areas of marine and coastal conservation, Environmental Impact Assessment (E.I.A) and marine pollution.
“Over the last two years, there have been a number of significant achievements in the Pacific, which suggests that strengthening the use of the Noumea Convention as a legally binding instrument for sustaining the region’s environment is critically important,” said Mr. Walsh.
“We call upon other countries to ratify the Convention.
The twelve Parties to the Noumea Convention are: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and the United States of America.