OECS hosts marine research workshop

Press Release:-The OECS Commission in collaboration with several development partners will host a four-day international stakeholder training course, this week, on marine scientific research for the sustainable development of the Caribbean.

The regional workshop will promote and facilitate the conduct of marine scientific research under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), an area of importance that has been consistently recognized by the UN General Assembly in its annual resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea, as well as by the recent 2012 UN conference on sustainable development. More specifically, Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life Below Water) and the SAMOA Pathway speak to undertaking scientific research to improve ocean health, enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity and develop the associated technological capacity of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). SDG14, Target 14c, recognizes UNCLOS as the legal framework for the sustainable use of oceans and their resources.

Research, and the tools required to conduct it, are therefore essential for the sustainable development of the oceans and their resources, and can support informed decisions on the conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment by helping to understand, predict and respond to natural disasters and climate change. Consequently, strengthening the capacity of states—particularly SIDS—to implement the marine scientific research provisions of UNCLOS is essential for increasing the scientific research being conducted in the world’s oceans.

Alice Hicuburundi, Senior Legal Officer with UN-DOALOS said marine science is important in the eradication of poverty, contributing to food security, helping to conserve marine resources and understanding the impacts of climate change. Promoting the sustainable development of oceans, and promoting knowledge through research, is therefore critical.

Chamberlain Emmanuel, Head of the Environment Sustainability Cluster at the OECS Commission, informed participants that in addition to improving the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy, the heads of government mandated the OECS Commission to mobilize resources and seek all possible assistance for its implementation and the associated three-year strategic action plan.

The Commission obtained funding support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFTAD) of the Government of Canada to develop an OECS Marine Research Strategy, a Code of Conduct for Responsible Research and Ocean Data Standards and Best Practices. Together, the documents elaborate the framework of the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy for “promoting cooperation in marine scientific research,” consistent with the provisions of UNCLOS.

Participating countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Development partners present include the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and its sub-commission IOCARIBE; the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the UN Office of Legal Affairs (UN-DOALOS ); and the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI).

The workshop is currently being held at the Bay Gardens Hotel in Saint Lucia, from May 2 – 5.