(Seated from L-R): Professor Derrick Armstrong, Professor Elisa Morgera, Her Excellency Melanie Hopkins, British High Commissioner, and Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, with the One Ocean Hub team at USP during the launch.
The One Ocean Hub is an ambitious £22 million programme aimed at transforming the global response to the urgent challenges of oceans law, science and governance. USP researchers have been awarded an initial £1.6m to lead key areas of the research.
The five-year programme is being funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund and involves more than 50 partners, including world-leading research centres, development organisations, community representatives, governments and multiple UN agencies.
Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and International said that USP is honoured and excited to be part of this inauguration.
Professor Armstrong further commented that the interdisciplinary focus of the hub, combining ocean science, policy and art with a strong focus on community engagement and indigenous knowledge and includes a major feature of the innovative approach to engaging with tractable challenges.
“The UK Government has to be congratulated for championing the visionary approach to these challenges and promoting collaboration between UK universities, and universities and countries in the developing world,” he said.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor and President is very pleased that USP has been able to secure this partnership and thanked University of Strathclyde for leading the programme.
Professor Ahluwalia commented that climate change is real to the people of the Pacific, and shared that as he travelled across the University’s campuses around the Pacific, he understood why research in this field is so important.
He is very much interested in the outcomes and publications that will come out of the research.
Her Excellency Melanie Hopkins, British High Commissioner to Fiji said that the research grant will enable researchers from USP to partner with its One Ocean Hub teams as they work in addressing the urgent challenges of oceans law, science and governance.
Led by researchers from the University of Strathclyde in the UK, H.E. Hopkins explained that one aspect of the research is to support decision making based on evidence of risks and opportunities among competing ocean uses.
“This research will greatly assist in coral reef management and monitoring invasive marine species management, conservation of threatened and migratory marine species such as sea turtles and whales, waste management and pollution control,” H.E Hopkins said.
She added that last year the United Kingdom was honoured to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, and added that the need for greater Commonwealth cooperation on both climate and oceans were at the heart of that meeting, including agreement to create a new Commonwealth Blue Charter.
“So Commonwealth countries coming together to agree new standards on the ocean protection can create real change for the entire planet,” she said.
Professor Elisa Morgera, Director of the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance with the Law School said that One Ocean Hub is committed to developing excellent research to the service of vulnerable communities, particularly those who are left out of decision making, whose voices are not heard and those that are usually most affected by poor decisions made in relation to Ocean.
“In doing so, we have to proceed and develop and keep assessing fair partnership as a way for us to collaborate,” Professor Morgera said.
Through the One Ocean Hub, Professor Morgera said that researchers are blessed in having the opportunity to learn from three regions that are very much dependent on the Ocean, but who have differing views and connections to the Oceans.
She informed that the scope of the One Ocean Hub is very broad and ambitious and the researchers are looking into the disconnections between science, within science, between science and policy, and also between societies and science.
To this, she added that one of the key innovations of the Hub is not only to make intellectual connections, but emotional ones as well.
“The examples set by USP involved in the arts so deeply really shows how we need that emotional connection as much as we need advancements in our intellectual approaches to the challenges to the Ocean,” Professor Morgera said.