FFA, New Zealand Development Program Sign Agreement

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Honiara, Solomon Islands

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A boost in numbers of New Zealand development volunteers supporting Pacific fisheries is to follow the launch of a new regional partnership between the New Zealand Volunteer Services’ Abroad (VSA) program, the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The partnership begins with VSA professional, Nicholas Hay, taking up a post in Nauru’s Marine Resources ministry later this month. Hay will be based at FFA HQ in Honiara for induction briefings before he heads to his 18 month-stint in Nauru. Other NZ volunteers will follow Hay, a Coastal Fisheries Scientist, as FFA member countries work with the agency to identify areas in their national fisheries where the experience and skills of VSA professionals are required.

FFA Director General James Movick welcomed the initiative when signing the MOU with NZ VSA country director, Alexa Funnell, at FFA HQ in Honiara last week, following several months of discussion and planning.

Movick extended thanks to New Zealand its support to institutional strengthening of marine and fisheries ministries across the region. "Having VSA professionals in country for extended periods will help to supplement resources and capacity amongst our member countries. In return, these individuals and the development program they work for will also be able to gain better insights into Fisheries realities in the Pacific region."

He pointed out the inaugural VSA to Nauru could be relevant to other FFA member countries. He said he is hopeful that in future, with the availability of medium term technical volunteers to relieve them, senior national Marine Fisheries officers would also be able to take time out to pursue special research, career advancement or undertake regional assignments before returning to better serve their countries.

"This provides obvious benefits in helping raise professional and research experience amongst Pacific nations, and we hope it will in time feed into the regional level, when these professionals from NZ and other volunteer donors are also more aware of work opportunities with regional fisheries organisations such as the FFA," says Movick.

NZ’s VSA program has been serving the Pacific since 1965 and has moved on from its early youth-volunteers focus to become a development organisation that is increasingly recruiting older professionals keen to continue sharing their career experience.

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