(GOVT. PRESS SECRETARIAT); Samoa’s delegation, led by the Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism, Honourable Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, represented Samoa at the Korea International Cooperation Conference on Oceans and Fisheries (KICCOF) in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK), May 30-31, 2023.
Samoa’s delegation to the 2023 Korea International Cooperation Conference also included Ambassador of Samoa to Fiji, Ali’io’aiga Feturi Elisara; Assistant Chief Executive Officer for Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), Afaese Luteru Tauvale; and Principal Scientific Officer, Silipa Mulitalo.
The Korea International Cooperation Conference on Oceans and Fisheries (KICCOF) has been held annually since 2014, and it convenes distinguished experts from coastal island countries that share the sea and form a consensus, including those from ASEAN, Latin America, Africa, and the Pacific Islands.
This year’s conference’s theme is “Cooperation towards a Better Future for the Pacific Islands”. The conference is also one of the main events of the historic First Korea-Pacific Islands Summit.
The conference’s primary objective is to collectively address pressing global challenges in oceans and fisheries by seeking viable solutions.
Hon. Seung-hwan Cho, Minister for the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, delivered a remark to officially open the ceremony. In his remarks, he said that this conference will present a remarkable opportunity to engage in substantive discussions, expanding cooperation between Korea and the Pacific Islands.
Hon. Seung-hwan Cho also stated; “I hope this conference becomes a platform for finding alternative solutions for mutual prosperity and sustainable development between Korea and Pacific Island countries. To achieve this, Korea will continue to strengthen cooperation with coastal countries, including the Pacific Island countries”.
Furthermore, the conference featured presentations and discussions on climate crisis response, sustainable fisheries, and marine environmental conservation. It will also explore measures for the joint implementation of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent as a long-term development plan for the Pacific Islands, as well as Korea’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.
Representatives from the Pacific Island countries delivered speeches highlighting the significance and importance of key cooperative projects they have undertaken with Korea.
Afaese Luteru Tauvale and Silipa Mulitalo, delivered a presentation on behalf of the government of Samoa focusing on the Ocean Acidification Observations and Response Project, funded by the Korean government through the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2017.
This project aims to procure, assemble, deploy, and carry out maintenance on the Ocean Acidification monitoring buoy. The project also builds up the capacity of local staff to carry out data collection.
Their presentation took the opportunity for them to acknowledge the government of Korea and all donors who help and support Samoa. They stated that the projects have so many challenges, but with the help of aid and donors, they make things possible for Samoa.
The conference was attended by the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), members, and the secretary general of the PIF.