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Port-Vila, Vanuatu – 20 August 2022: On Friday 19 August 2022, the National University of Vanuatu (NUV) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with both Vanuatu Fisheries Department and the program called USAID OurFish OurFuture to strengthen their links and promote mutual developments.

Vanuatu Fisheries Department and USAID OurFish OurFuture are committed to support the initiatives from the NUV. The purpose of the two MOUs is to develop academic and educational cooperation for the benefit of Vanuatu coastal fisheries ecosystems; open access to allow NUV students and researchers to benefit from the extensive existing research and experimental results; and, enable effective collaboration between NUV, Vanuatu Fisheries Department and OurFish to implement significant matters of common priorities. Vanuatu Fisheries Department and USAID OurFish OurFuture recognised that the National University of Vanuatu is evolving its academic and research programs in the framework of its strategic plan 2021-2030 supported by the People’s Plan 2030 and the National HRP Plan and the importance of partnering with this newly established national institution. They are committed to support the initiatives from the NUV to promote Vanuatu environment, develop capacity building and research and encourage employability of the NUV students in a growing and demanding sector.

The Vice-Chancellor and President of the National University of Vanuatu, Mr. Jean-Pierre Nirua, said “The National University of Vanuatu is very excited by the opportunities of collaboration through these partnerships. I would like to thank Vanuatu Fisheries Department and the USAID OurFish OurFuture program for their support. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing are degrading coastal fisheries and biodiversity and negatively impacting local livelihoods, food stability, and maritime security in Vanuatu and in the Pacific. The two MOUs signed today are aligned with the Goal 9 of the University to Grow a green and resilient university and the Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science currently on offer through NUV with the support of partner universities. These two partnership arrangements will further support NUV’s efforts to contribute to the programs of the new country’s Maritime and Fisheries Training Institute to be established soon”. 

The Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Lonny Bong, said “It is a milestone that we have achieved today for the fisheries sector. Vanuatu Fisheries Department looks forward to a fruitful cooperation that will benefit the maritime professionals and the fisheries sector”.

The Program Manager of USAID in PNG and Vanuatu, Mrs. Becca Price, said “USAID OurFish OurFuture is enthusiastic about this new partnership that will benefit both organisations and, more importantly, will contribute to the preservation of the ocean and the biodiversity in the Pacific. Preoccupations are raising in the region and we need qualified and smart people to support our initiatives”.

The Vanuatu Fisheries Department is the government body charged with the implementation and enforcement of fisheries management laws, policies, regulations and principles under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB). The mission of the Fisheries Department of Vanuatu is to ensure sustainable management, development and conservation of fish resources in order to achieve maximum social and economic benefits to Vanuatu for the present and future generations.

USAID OurFish OurFuture program is a cooperative agreement awarded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by the Coastal Resources Center (CRC) and the University of Rhode Island (URI) in collaboration with a team of core implementing partners, namely, the Locally Managed Marine Area Network (LMMA), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the University of the South Pacific (USP). The program will collaborate closely with the Pacific Community (SPC), other regional fishery organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs), and relevant government authorities.

The development of the NUV is aligned with Vanuatu People’s Plan and the Vanuatu Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan. It is expected that new programs and courses will be developed for offer through the NUV School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.