11th April, 2017 On Monday, 10 April 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the WAITT Institute, Ministry of MEIDECC, the Governor of Vava’u and the Vava’u Environment Protection Association (VEPA) to support the initiative to develop a Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) for the Vava’u Island group.
The WAITT Institute is a non-profit organization/foundation that partners with small-island governments to envision, create and implement solutions for sustainable ocean management, based in San Diego, California, USA and represented by Ms. Kathryn Mengerink, Executive Director (WAITT Institute) and Mr. Jacob James, Managing Director (WAITT Foundation).
The purpose of today’s signing was to reaffirm existing partnerships and support to achieve the goal of managing Tonga’s waters for sustainability, profitability, and enjoyment, resulting in healthier ecosystems, improved fishing catches, strengthened coastal livelihoods, improved climate resilience and climate smart marine management practices. The Vava’u Marine Spatial Plan is a component of the national marine spatial plan that was initiated by Tonga’s Cabinet to form a holistic spatial plan for Tonga’s ocean.
“We welcome this partnership to support our national programmes towards Marine Spatial Planning. This would strengthen sustainable economic development for the benefit of the communities, as well as national policies and research aims”, says Mr. Paula Ma’u, CEO for MEIDECC.
This initiative will be funded by the WAITT Institute. The ongoing partnerships of all parties will ensure that Tonga meets its national development goals, as well as many of the global sustainable development goals (SDGs). Research findings are expected to benefit communities through inclusion, awareness and future economic drivers of sustainable ocean ecosystems. This initiative will engage in all social groups, including women and youth, as well as to support Government initiatives that strengthen health, environment and sustainable economic activities.
Issued by the: Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Communications & Climate Change