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New agreement promises greater role for Pacific in ocean science

A new agreement between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (U.N.E.S.C.O.) and the Pacific Community (S.P.C.) promises a greater role for states such as Samoa in international ocean science initiatives.

The agreement, signed with U.N.E.S.C.O.'s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (I.O.C.) in Noumea last week, aims to include smaller Pacific Island states in developing and implementing ocean science projects. 

The scope of the new cooperation agreement includes data and information exchange, marine spatial planning, ocean literacy, early warning systems and capacity development.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed during the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science workshop for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 at the Pacific Community (S.P.C.), and it aims to strengthen cooperation in the fields of ocean science, observation, services and capacity-building.

“The parties, recognising the importance of cooperating in the fields of oceanography and related observations, research, services, early-warning systems, ocean management and capacity-development, wish to engage in joint cooperation in the pacific region," the agreement reads. 

“The activities of both parties are guided by multi-year strategies and operating work plans with goals and objectives covering observation, scientific research, services and capacities-development."

The I.O.C, established in 1960 as an autonomous body within UNESCO, promotes international cooperation and coordinates programmes in research, services and capacity-development, in order to learn more about the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and apply that knowledge for the improvement of management, sustainable development, the protection of the marine environment, and the decision-making processes of its Member States.


The S.P.C. is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region and was established in 1947. 

The S.P.C. is an intergovernmental organisation established by treaty, owned and governed by 26 country and territory members. It works on the effective and innovative application of science and knowledge, guided by a deep understanding of Pacific Island contexts and cultures.  

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