Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP with the Norwegian delegation led by H.E Paul Gulleik Larsen, Norwegian Ambassador to Fiji (2nd from right)
A Norwegian delegation led by His Excellency Paul Gulleik Larsen, Norwegian Ambassador to Fiji, paid a courtesy visit to Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 22 November 2018
In warmly welcoming the Ambassador, Professor Chandra reaffirmed the USP-Norway and USP-Bergen collaboration that is framed in the context of the Partnership Dialogues and targets of the United Nations Oceans Conference, exemplifying Europe-Pacific cooperation.
“The University is fully committed towards leveraging its engagement with the Government of Norway, particularly in terms of providing technical support to enhance the work on marine, oceans and climate change in the Pacific region,” he stated.
Professor Chandra reaffirmed the partnership between the University and Norway which included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Norway’s University of Bergen and their collaborations on the ECOPAS project.
On USP’s involvement in the Oceans Conference, Professor Chandra stated that in moving the Norway-Fiji partnership forward to support Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular SDG 14, the University has engaged on a more collaborative role in working together with the committee.
“USP is privileged to be working with the Norwegian Government and the University of Bergen to address the needs of the Pacific region, mainly in the critical areas of climate change, marine and oceans,” he added.
He acknowledged H.E Larsen for the visit and for the engaging discussions, adding that USP looks forward to engaging with Norway in areas of oceans, climate change and beyond.
H.E Larsen reciprocated Professor Chandra’s welcome and acknowledgement, saying it was a pleasure to visit the Laucala Campus.
With Norway’s main focus now on Oceans and its sustainable management, he said they are looking at how support can be rendered to the South Pacific through knowledge-sharing and expertise.
H.E Larsen stated that a new area for them is marine plastic pollution where Norway is setting up a programme to assist developing countries in combatting marine litter and micro-plastics.
“USD 11.5m have been committed to the World Bank’s fund PROBLUE in 2018,” he said.
The funding includes support to sustainable fisheries management. USD38m will be allocated in 2019, and for the period 2019-2022 the ambition is to reach a total of USD 153m to assist this effort.
H.E Larsen emphasised the need to educate people at home on the dangers of polluting the environment and suggested the establishment of education or awareness programmes by the University beginning from primary school. He also confirmed that any project relating to combating plastic pollution in the South Pacific will see the support from the Norwegian Government.
Furthermore, H.E Larsen reiterated the need to work together with multilateral regional partners like USP to combat plastic pollution.
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