Fiji-Norway universities commit to ocean conservation

FIJI’S University of the South Pacific and Norway’s University of Bergen will establish a high-profile Joint Chair in Oceans and Climate Change to be hosted at USP’s Laucala Campus in Suva.

With the announcement of a USP-Norway Joint Chair in Ocean studies and a list of voluntary commitments by USP reaffirms the universities’ commitment towards the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources.

University of Bergen’s Marine Dean Professor Jarl Giske said the Chair would be supported by staff from the University of Bergen in Climate Research and Social Anthropology.

USP vice chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra said this was the first time for USP to have a joint chair in Oceanic studies and this announcement would take the current partnership to a new level.

“We are extremely happy with the partnership. From my office and right throughout the university, we would like to commit to a much more expanded and sustainable partnership with the University of Bergen,” Prof Chandra said.

In terms of the voluntary commitments by USP, he said the university would:

– Open a new USP research and development centre based in the Marshall Islands, termed the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport, initially focusing on sustainable shipping solutions for the Pacific; and

– Make a special appointment in its Institute of Marine Resources and support two new Master-level studentships on coastal research in RMI to be able to capture better management.

He said those voluntary commitments would help strengthen the marine capacity in the university as well as provide additional support to the university’s member countries in sustainable management of the vast Pacific oceanscape.

The announcement was made at the Norwegian reception on June 7 at Hotel Millennium in New York on the margin of the United Nations Oceans Conference.