UK Overseas Territories governments of the Falkland Islands and Montserrat have signed an agreement that facilitates a Territory to Territory partnership with the purpose of transferring knowledge and skills from the South Atlantic and the Caribbean. The skills and knowledge transfer will focus on information management and marine spatial planning.
The agreement was signed by Montserrat Agriculture and Environment minister Claude Hogan and for the Falklands Member of the Legislative Assembly Mike Poole. The project is facilitated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), a UK government agency.
This Agreement represents a major break-through by the Government of Montserrat to manage and co-ordinate developments in Montserrat's marine environment. This will benefit our local Fishers, the Tourism Industry, our People in general, and finally Montserrat will have a properly equipped Ocean Governance Unit”, underlined Mr. Hogan.
MLA Poole said that sharing expertise and experience between Territories has always been something that the Falkland Islands Government has been proactively working on.
We set up the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI) to have a territory-based, territory-led research institution that can develop expertise within the region and beyond. We are very pleased that our strong partnerships with other OTs and with the JNCC have led to the exciting initiative ‘T2T’ sharing skills knowledge and expertise with our colleagues in Montserrat. We are honored to have been invited to actively contribute to this partnership”.
The project will focus on enhancing Montserrat’s capacity to manage the large amounts of environmental, agricultural, socio-economic and other data already available and that which will become available in the future in the marine and terrestrial environments.
The project aims to build on existing systems and link into ongoing projects. The project will assist the Government of Montserrat to: Formulate a data infrastructure appropriate to the island’s needs to support its marine and terrestrial spatial planning in the context of environmental management and socio-economic development; Improve the legal framework for sustainable management and use of the ocean resources; and Formulate a strategy to implement Marine Spatial Planning.
The partnership project is working towards a visit in November by Falklands experts, including Dr Paul Brickle, SAERI Director, to undertake a consultation with their Montserrat counterparts. This Montserrat stakeholder consultation will be held on 14-18 November 2016 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
Dr Paul Brickle, Director of South Atlantic Environmental Institute (SAERI) said, “We are very excited to be delivering this work for Montserrat on behalf of the Falkland Islands Government. SAERI has developed a Marine Spatial Planning model (under a Darwin initiative-funded project) and a complementary data management model (under an FCO-funded project) that have seen us develop these processes and systems for small islands with finite resources. We are keen to share this work and examples with Montserrat and work together to adapt them and develop solution to these focal areas on Montserrat.”
Mr Alwyn Ponteen, Chief Fisheries Officer, Montserrat concluded, “This is a welcome venture for the GoM to help us better understand and utilize our marine space, now and for our future generations”.