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By: Francisca Anania

Many PNG communities see oceans as part of their livelihood, and traditional knowledge and practices were used to help the marine life be rich and diverse for many decades.

PNG being the first Pacific Island nation to have the National Oceans Policy (NOP) implementation in progress, a stakeholder engagement workshop was commissioned to review the policy by bringing together stakeholders from various agencies, non-government organizations, and partners in Papua New Guinea to discuss status and the best ways to implement the NOP.

The workshop also raised awareness on the Pacific Solutions Integrated Ocean Management (PSIOM) and its role in assisting the NOP in terms of providing the best solutions to existing challenges such as climate change.

A key highlight of the workshop were findings and recommendations of the legal review to the PNG National Ocean Committee (NOC) to establish the implementation status of PNG’s Ocean policy and discuss opportunities on a national level on managing and governance of the country’s ocean space.

Dr. Eric Kwa said “Everything boils down to working together. Every organization having a role to play in ensuring the NOP is implemented such as the National Fisheries Authority, Department of National Planning and Monitoring and so on, just need to work together on this to see it forward.

Dr Kwa also said “The Ocean Policy also highlights traditional knowledge and practices as one of the important aspect of its policy development. 

The Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science is leading the PSIOM program and works with Pacific Island government, sub-national authorities and regional agencies to implement holistic ocean management practices.

SPC Ocean and Maritime Deputy Director Jens Kruger said through the PSIOM program, SPC is committed to supporting member countries to sustainably manage and protect the Pacific Ocean.

“A common aspiration within national ocean policies in PNG and the Pacific is the growing desire for Integrated Ocean Management (IOM). In the Pacific, IOM recognizes that traditional knowledge and culture, advanced science and robust laws and policies are key to understanding and effectively implementing ocean policies through stakeholder consultation, engagement and participation,” Mr Kruger said.

Mr Alan Friedlander, Chief Scientist of National Geographic Pristine Seas described how PNG sits on what is globally known as the Global Triangle and is also the global diversity hotspot.

He also said “Papua New Guinea has some of the richest ocean resources, thousands of fish species and hundreds of coral species making it very important on a global scale. But more importantly it is important to the local Papua New Guineans for food and also for culture.”

The workshop started yesterday 14th of November 2023 and will continue tomorrow Wednesday 15th of November with other important highlights.

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