The Enhancing Pacific Ocean Governance (EPOG) project commenced in 2014 and was completed in December 2017. It aimed to support Pacific Island countries to effectively manage marine and coastal resources. The Department of the Environment and Energy was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the Australian Aid Program to administer and lead the project. Australia invested $6.4 million over 4 years in EPOG including funds contributed by the Department and other implementing agencies—Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO.
The project supported the implementation of priority strategies of the Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape, which was endorsed by Pacific Island leaders in 2010. The Framework recognises the importance of sustainable development and good governance of marine environments for maintaining the livelihoods, culture and wellbeing of Pacific Island communities. Specific strategies supported by EPOG were:
- Regional oceans leadership and coordination: Australia supported the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat with the establishment of the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner by providing advisory and technical support to further the Commissioner’s important role of oceans advocacy and coordination. The Pacific Ocean Alliance—a multi-sector stakeholder group—was also established to provide a forum for all stakeholders to contribute to high level policy and strategies for sustainable use of ocean resources. At the close of EPOG, DFAT committed further funding of AUD1.38 million for the Office of Pacific Ocean Commissioner from 2018-2020.
- Maritime boundary delimitation: Geoscience Australia and the Attorney General’s Department provided technical and legal support to the Secretariat for Pacific Communities, and Pacific Island countries for maritime boundary delimitation (Strategic Priority 1 of the Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape). Significant progress was made in establishing formal maritime boundaries by seven Pacific Island countries, including Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Tuvalu. The delimitation of several boundaries are continuing to progress. By the end of 2017 two-thirds of Pacific Island Countries had successfully concluded negotiations for their maritime boundaries. At the close of EPOG, DFAT committed further funding of AUD$6.4 million to continue supporting countries with maritime boundaries from 2017-2020.
- Marine planning and oceans data management: Through CSIRO, Australia supported marine spatial planning initiatives such as training and workshops on how to develop improved data management tools and systems (Strategic Priority 3 of the Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape). CSIRO worked with regional agencies to develop an intergovernmental approach to marine planning which considers economic, cultural and environmental values. CSIRO’s work also included pilot projects to test integrated planning tools and processes for managing multiple uses of marine resources in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati.
The following Australian Government agencies worked on EPOG, making financial contributions and coordinating with other major donor investments in Pacific Ocean Governance:
- Department of the Environment and Energy
- Geoscience Australia
- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
- The Attorney General’s Department
Other organisations that provided support include:
- University of Sydney
- GRID Arendal
Participating Pacific regional and national agencies included:
- Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS)
- Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
- Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
- Enhancing Pacific Ocean Governance Evaluation Report - 2018
- Enhancing Pacific Ocean Governance - 2014 Publication
- Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape
- Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
- Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
- Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) National Capacity Development Workshop for Samoa
- CSIRO EPOG Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Tools
- CSIRO EPOG MSP Tools – Bioregionalisation
- Pacific Community (SPC) Maritime Boundaries
More information can be obtained from the Department of the Environment and Energy: firstname.lastname@example.org