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UK’s Envoy to Commonwealth visit to The University of the South Pacific

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UK government’s Envoy to the Commonwealth, Mr Philip Parham paid a visit to The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Marine Studies on 3 February, 2020.

UK government’s Envoy to the Commonwealth, Mr Philip Parham paid a visit to The University of the South Pacific’s (USP), School of Marine Studies on 3 February, 2020. 

A Panal of discussion on the Role of Commonwealth in the Modern Day was led by by Mr Parham. The panel included the Pacific Commonwealth High Commissioners for Papua New Guinea and Kiribati and Associate Professor Nick Rollings from the School of Geography, USP. After an intensive discussion, Q&A also took place with the Postgraduate students. 

Philip Parham was appointed the UK government’s Envoy to the Commonwealth on 18 June 2018. He is also the Special Envoy for the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 which took place in London in January 2020.

On behalf of the Vice Chancellor & President (VCP) of USP, Professor Jito Vanualailai, acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education welcomed Mr Parham, distinguished guests and students to the programme. 

During his welcoming address, Professor Jito said that since the establishment of USP, 50 years ago, the Commonwealth has been close partner and in support of the University.

“USP has established close partnership with UK Marine Technical organisations such as the UK Hydrographic Office, the National Oceanography Center and Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture science under the Commonwealth Marine Economics programme since inception in 2016,” he said.

“These activities combined with support by the Commonwealth heads and USP, created a global Commonwealth Climate Resilience network.”

He thanked Ms Melanie Hopkins, British High Commissioner to the Republic of Fiji and Amitesh Prasad, Regional Manager for Commonwealth Marine Economics programme for facilitating research opportunities for USP marine students as well.

Mr Parham said that he is delighted to be at USP and the close relationship UK shares with USP is very special.

“I am very pleased to see that the Commonwealth links with USP are so strong.  Many of you may not know, but last year marked the 70th Anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with the London declaration signed in April 1949,” he said.

He further stated that it is the youth who are at the heart of the Commonwealth and he is proud to see first-hand the capacity being built on climate change and the ocean at University. 

 “The new Queen Elizabeth Scholarships for Climate Resilience announced in 2018 by Their Royal Highnesses is a fantastic example of Commonwealth youth collaboration, linking USP with the University of the West Indies to encourage academic mobility and the exchange of knowledge between the Pacific and the Caribbean,” said Mr Parham.

 He congratulated the University on attracting funding through the One Ocean Hub and look forward to the insights this research will produce.

“The UK is proud to be a leader in marine policy and science, alongside USP, and we look forward to working together on these important issues to ensure a sustainable, prosperous and secure future for all,” he said.

Mr Parham made reference to that the £26.5m FCO-led Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) Programme is supporting nine Commonwealth Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific to develop their marine economies in a sustainable, resilient and integrated way.

He added that the CMEP works with SIDS to develop bespoke national Maritime Economy Plans (MEPs) and MEPs map maritime economy sectors, identify opportunities for sustainable growth and strengthen their maritime economy, whilst safeguarding the ocean.

Mr Parham said that the CME Programme promotes growth, innovation, jobs and investment whilst safeguarding healthy seas and ecosystems.

“CME programme activities are helping to deliver the Commonwealth Blue Charter, UK commitments to the Commonwealth marine environment and tackling climate change, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 and the Paris Climate Change Accord,” he emphasised.

 “So far we have offered a MEP to all countries in the Pacific; to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Tuvalu.”

 He said that he is delighted to note that USP is the lead collaborator on Monitoring Risk Assessment to Increase Climate Change Resilience Component of the CME Programme.

Mr Parham added that through this partnership, Fiji now has ocean acidification sensors installed to measure changes in ocean acidity and sea temperature as well as drafting of the Pacific Marine Climate Change Report Card 2018.

This news item was published on 7 Feb 2020 03:40:49 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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