CNA News

Commonwealth and Cyprus sign MoU on Blue Charter Centre of Excellence

The Commonwealth and the government of the Republic of Cyprus have signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Blue Charter Centre of Excellence in Larnaca to strengthen governance for a sustainable blue economy and support scientific research on ocean protection.

The MOU was signed Friday at the inaugural Commonwealth Ocean Ministers Meeting by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, the Shipping Deputy Minister of Cyprus Marina Hadjimanolis, and the CEO of the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute, Zacharias Siokouros.

According to a press release by the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, under Cyprus, the Centre of Excellence will take an active lead in developing policies around marine conservation, restoration and sustainable resource management that will benefit Commonwealth island and coastal states. The Centre will also focus on sustainable aquaculture and marine research, development and innovation in support of the country led Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Groups.

Speaking at the meeting, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, said that science was critical for addressing ocean-related challenges, yet there was a wide gap between countries’ ability to participate in global debates on the ocean. The Blue Charter Centre of Excellence, she added, will help to reduce the inequalities around access to marine knowledge and scientific capacity.

“The Centre will also contribute to improving coordination between policymakers and scientists and position the Commonwealth as a collective lead on evidence-based approaches to tackling ocean challenges,” she noted.

Shipping Deputy Minister of Cyprus Marina Hadjimanolis said that “Cyprus recognizes that the challenges our oceans are facing are monumental and cannot be tackled single-handedly by any nation. It is for this reason that we have embraced the Commonwealth Blue Charter”.

“I am very excited to announce that after recent intensified efforts, we are ready to establish a Blue Charter Centre of Excellence in Cyprus, by signing the relevant MoU”, she added.