A new partnership between the Commonwealth and Nekton will support scientific exploration of the Indian Ocean in Commonwealth countries of the region, for enhanced ocean governance.
The memorandum of understanding signed on 15 November 2018 at Marlborough House by the Commonwealth’s Director of Trade, Oceans and Natural Resources, Paulo Kautoke and the CEO of the Nekton Foundation, Oliver Steeds, is expected to boost actions under the Commonwealth Blue Charter – a joint commitment by member countries to protect the ocean and sustainably manage its resources.
Partners will be able to use scientific data gathered to strengthen ocean governance as well as harness and sustain the blue economies in the Indian Ocean. Marine scientists and ocean managers from the region will also benefit from capacity-building, networking and knowledge-exchange programmes.
“This collaboration kick starts the ‘Friends of Blue Charter’, which includes like-minded collaborators and partners who care about the ocean and recognise its importance to life on this planet. Commonwealth host countries will benefit through the development of tools, skills, knowledge and networks to empower their actions on long-term sustainable management and governance of ocean resources,” said Mr. Kautoke.
“The agreement that we’ve signed is to support the implementation of the Blue Charter. Our joint goal is to gather the actionable data that is needed to inform the legal, political and economic sustainable development of the blue economies of the Indian Ocean, but also more widely across the world,” added Mr. Steeds.
The Nekton Deep Ocean Research Institute is a new marine research organisation dedicated to exploring and protecting the deep ocean. The Nekton Indian Ocean Mission planned for 2019-2022 aims to improve scientific knowledge of the Indian Ocean and catalyse its sustainable governance. Three research expeditions will be deployed in distinct regions of the Indian Ocean, beginning in Seychelles in 2019, backed by an alliance of additional partners, including the UK Government, Omega, Kensington Tours, University of Oxford, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and The Associated Press.
The Commonwealth Secretariat will be appointed to an expedition steering committee that will help to plan Nekton expeditions, and take part in training, capacity-building and promotional activities.