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Samoa Govt. represented in ocean science conference

The Samoa Government has a representative at a regional ocean science conference currently underway in Noumea, New Caledonia.

Matilda Bartley, who is the oceans officer in Samoa's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (M.F.A.T.), told the Samoa Observer that she is currently attending the workshop to ensure Samoa is kept abreast of the developments within the region.

“It's very important to be at the table when we talk about what our regional priorities are and especially in the ocean sphere there is so much being done," she said. 

“It is a very big issue and it's also significant to ensure that we are working together as a region for the common goal and if we don't have a seat at the table how do we ensure our priorities are reflected."

Mrs. Bartley said M.F.A.T. was invited by the Pacific Community (S.P.C.) to participate in a three-day workshop on the United Nations Decade of ocean science for sustainable development 2021-2030 at its headquarters in Noumea.

“The focal point in Samoa for S.P.C. is M.F.A.T. so when they invited participants on ocean matters, we aside from Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.), that looks at the overall picture of what's happening in our national context and where we fit in our international relations."

She said part of the reason for Samoa taking part is to see how the science or scientific research could better inform them in formulating such policies.

“Samoa has instituted the plastic ban and we would like to see in the next decade whether or not our efforts at a national level and in the regional level has been effective to address the issue for the Pacific Ocean.

“It is also to discover is that we have done enough as a region to address the issue of plastic pollution in our waters - how do we find that out? We need the science to be there to collect the information necessary.

“Samoa would like to see the resources that will become available and be utilised by appropriate specialists,” she said. 

The M.F.A.T. ocean officer said that there are a lot of different ministries that deal with oceans in Samoa.

“We have Ministry of Works Transport and Infrastructure (M.W.T.I.) that looks at maritime and that deals with vessels coming into our waters to ensure that they meet the international standards. There is also the Ministry of Police who are responsible for patrolling our national waters with enforcing maritime security.

“Then, we have border controls looked after by Quarantine that ensure that the vessels that coming into Samoa are not carrying pests and diseases and these all revolve around safety.

“We have the M.N.R.E. who are looking at conservation and ocean management and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries looking at coastal fisheries and how it relates to priorities offshore fisheries and our obligations at a regional level to make sure we do not overfish,” she said. 

She added that S.P.C. and M.F.A.T. have a long history of collaboration. 

“We have only just looked at scientific research as an organization but we rely on our agencies like S.P.C. to undertake the big regional work that happens around the region, to be able to provide that scientific advice that we don't have in our country, so for us we would like to see resources be made available and utilised for the benefit of the whole region.”

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