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PRESS RELEASE June 27, 2001

Samoa will be the first of 14 Pacific island countries to officially sign a Memorandum of Understanding to start implementation of the International Waters Program (IWP).

Samoa’s Lands, Surveys, and Environment Minister, Hon. Tagaloa Tuala Tagaloa, and the Director of SPREP Mr. Tamari‘i Tutangata, will formalize the MOU in the capital, Apia, tomorrow afternoon.

The MOU establishes the arrangement and administration of a "national pilot project" in Samoa.

A five-year program that is being executed by SPREP, the IWP has two components, oceanic and coastal. The oceanic component aims to strengthen efforts by the 14 countries involved to secure long-term sustainable development from the western central Pacific tuna resource.

This is being done through a coordinated program involving the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Forum Fisheries Agency. The program will provide better information on the exploitation of the tuna resource in the region, the environment in which it is found, and options for improving the sustainable benefits from its exploitation.

The coastal component will address the key causes of degradation of waters in coastal regions, using a program to improve coastal and watershed management.

Fourteen pilot projects covering marine protected areas, sustainable coastal fisheries, protection of freshwater resources, and community based waste reduction will be established, one in each of the participating countries.

The countries that are part of the IWP are the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The IWP is funded by the Global Environment Facility, and implemented by the United Nations Development Program.

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