Tokelau has begun preparing its Blue Economy Roadmap for five years from 2025 to enhance the governance, management and protection of its marine ecosystem and ocean resources.

A three-day inception workshop in Apia, Samoa to collect initial information and data for the development of the Roadmap, using the Open Standards framework for the practice of conservation. According to a joint statement issued by the SDG Fund, the Tokelau government, Conservation International (Pacific Islands) and the UNDP on Thursday, the workshop is being held in person and online, bringing together Tokelau government and community representatives, staff of CI and the United Nations, and other relevant stakeholders.

Their main task is to update and validate information and data collected to create the Tokelau Blue Economy initial assessment. They will also identify Tokelau’s Blue Economy vision, stakeholders, focal components, goals, main/direct drivers, contributing factors, and key outcomes.

The workshop is also an opportunity to familiarise participants with the Open Standards framework in preparation for the series of remote consultations that will take place over the next couple of months.

This is part of the United Nations Joint SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Fund for the UN Joint Programme on Accelerating SDG achievement in Tokelau through integrated policy solutions, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF and FAO. 

Tokelau’s Minister for Health and Finance, Alapati Tavite highlighted how his government’s priorities cover multiple sectors.

“While the priority interventions in this joint programme focus on nutrition, programmes in other sectors like agriculture, social welfare, early child development, and schooling are envisioned to address several underlying determinants of nutrition,” said Tavite. 

“An additional focus on the atoll system and ocean management will strengthen equal access to economic and natural resources for enhanced food and nutrition security. That’s what this workshop focuses on – the latter part of this work.”

CI has been contracted by UNDP, under its component of the project, to develop the Tokelau Roadmap which will inform and show the main goals, initiatives, and outcomes needed to develop a Blue Economy at the national level. 

CI has extensive experience in developing strategies and roadmaps at national and regional levels, such as the Samoa Ocean Strategy which has been co-developed with Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. CI will collect information and data from Tokelau communities and government, and host a validation workshop, to complete the Roadmap in April 2024. 

“We trust that this multi-stakeholder collaboration will deliver lasting outcomes, positioning Tokelau as a leader in the Pacific, and SIDS globally, on defining its own Blue Economy Roadmap,” said Vineet Bhatia, UNDP Resident Representative ad interim. 

The methodology being applied for Tokelau is the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. This is an adaptive management framework used to develop ocean and terrestrial integrated management strategies and management plans. It has been used by CI to develop the Samoa Ocean Strategy and the Lau Seascape Strategy (Fiji) and it is a framework that facilitates participatory design, especially for communities.

This story was written by Alexander Rheeney, originally published at Samoa Observer on 21 September 2023, reposted via PACNEWS.

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