Hon. Minister of Agriculture Claude Hogan on Wednesday welcomed a new agreement between the Government of Montserrat and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), which will be enabling the island to store more of its critical information on the environment.
Minister Hogan signed an agreement that facilitates a territory to territory partnership between the governments of two UK Overseas Territories, Montserrat and the Falkland Islands, to transfer knowledge and skills from the South Atlantic to the Caribbean. This skills and knowledge transfer will focus on information managements and marine spatial planning. The project is facilitated by the JNCC.
“This agreement represents a major breakthrough by the Government of Montserrat to manage and coordinate 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,” explained Hogan.
Michael Poole, Falkland Islands Government rep said “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-lead 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 honoured 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 projects 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.
Chief Fisheries Officer Alwyn Ponteen said “this is a welcome venture for the Government of Montserrat to help us better understand and utilise our marine space, now and for our future generations.”
The partnership project is working towards a visit in November 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.