he Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the University of Guam (UOG) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to enhance their collaboration.

A signing ceremony was held on 6 May in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia with UOG President Dr Robert Underwood and SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers. On hand representing the Director-General was Mr Amena Yauvoli, Manager of SPC's North Pacific Regional Office. The MOU establishes a framework of institutional partnership between the two organisations that will foster coherent and synergistic results and outcomes for both and contribute to the achievement of their respective mandates.

UOG is a US-accredited institution that has scientific expertise in the fields of marine ecology; freshwater resources; cultural resource management; invasive species mitigation; natural resource management; and island sustainability in energy, environment, economy, society and education. UOG offers a highly developed knowledge infrastructure and is committed to scientific research and human resource development, bringing tremendous added value to regional development.

The MOU seeks to maximise the combined impact of the work of SPC and UOG and outcomes in scientific research, socio-economic development and health. It aims to ensure that the benefits and outcomes of the assistance provided to their mutual beneficiaries by the two organisations working in synergy are greater than those possible through their individual strengths. The MOU identifies eight programme themes on which SPC and UOG will pursue cooperation over the coming years. These eight themes, which reflect both existing and new opportunities for collaboration, are (1) communication for behaviour and social change; (s) higher education; (3) biosecurity (invasive species ecology); (4) diagnostic laboratory assistance; (5) biomedical sciences; (6) natural resource ecology, including soils, forestry, agriculture and watershed restoration; (7) regional health communications and telecommunications; and (8) workforce development.

In supporting the MOU, Dr Rodgers stated that 'the signing of the MOU with UOG will open new doors for other members of SPC to engage and we (at SPC) will ensure they are aware of the MOU and the opportunities that come with it for them'. Dr Underwood expressed the same sentiments during the ceremony, reinforcing his keen desire to forge closer links between UOG and SPC as well as Pacific Island countries and territories and academic institutions in the South Pacific such as the University of the South Pacific (USP).