The European Union (EU) and SPC have signed a Contribution Agreement worth ?4.4 million for a project entitled 'Deep Sea Minerals in the Pacific Islands Region: A Legal and Fiscal Framework for Sustainable Resource Management'.The project is funded under the 10th European Development Fund and is aimed at furthering the effective management and use of the Pacific's deep-sea mineral resources.
'The Ocean and its mineral resources are a most valuable asset for the Pacific. The aim of the project we sign today is to support the people of this region to make efficient and sustainable use of this great asset by fostering better governance and use of the marine non-living resources of the Pacific,' said Christian Leffler, Deputy Director¬-General of the European Commission's Directorate General for Development at the official signing ceremony in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The EU-funded project is particularly timely and relevant, given that there has been an upsurge in exploration of seabed mineral resources within the territorial waters and exclusive economic zones of Pacific Island countries in recent years.
Mineral raw materials play an essential role in the world economy and are increasingly in demand for the development of high-tech products and new technologies.
'The rising demand driven by emerging markets will potentially generate significant wealth for the region, provided there is a legal framework in place to regulate the sector and return a fair share to governments and people in terms of tax revenues, employment and indirect economic activities,' said Dr Jimmie Rodgers, Director-General of SPC.