“MASA” in the Works
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“MASA” in the Works

Micronesian governments set to form an aquaculture network organization

A new organization of governments dedicated to cooperation in aquaculture development is being formed in the Micronesian sub region of the vast Pacific Region. It is named MASA, which stands for Micronesian Association for Sustainable Aquaculture.

High Level Officials from Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau — the core founding members are meeting in Palau’s capital Koror on 23-25 November to adopt the founding charter and other administrative instruments. Palau is going to be the seat of the MASA Secretariat, the network’s coordinating unit. They will be joined by agencies, organizations and institutions based in Micronesia, Asia, South Pacific the United States whose mandate include fisheries development. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has been providing assistance to the formation of the Association.

Presidents’ Endorsement

The proposal for the establishment of MASA was submitted to and endorsed by the 15th Micronesian Presidents Summit held in July 2015 in Majuro, Marshall Islands. The Presidents’ endorsement is contained in the Boknake Haus Communique. The meeting had been agreed by the Micronesian Presidents Summit to take place in Koror, Palau from 23 to 25 November 2015.

15th Micronesian Presidents Summit
Majuro Marshall Islands
July 14-15, 2015
Boknake Haus Communique
The 15th Micronesian Presidents Summit in Majuro 14 – 15 July 2015 was a reaffirmation of the strong commitment to continue forging friendly relations among the three countries and for the Presidents to exchange views and information on national, regional and international issues of mutual importance.
Micronesian Association for Sustainable Aquaculture (MASA)
The Presidents endorsed the official formation of MASA through the adoption of the founding document, the MASA Agreement, as well as other administrative instruments, including a proposed schedule for membership contributions to be further discussed and considered at a high level officials’ meeting scheduled for 23-25 November 2015 in Palau.

Why an Aquaculture Network

MASA follows the model and operational strategy of other networks, notably the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia Pacific or NACA, also established by the UNDP and FAO in 1990 after 10 years as an FAO regional project. The model is networking among governments and their institutions and centres, the strategy is technical cooperation.

Technical cooperation facilitates the exchange of scientific findings, technology and expertise, and the dissemination of new knowledge and information. Cooperation becomes more compelling in the face of limited resources of governments and the finite funding from donors. Cooperation makes the best use of internal resources and external support. The complex challenges to developing and modernizing aquaculture, a relatively new economic activity, also argue for a collaborative approach to make efficient use of the human capital and material resources to solve common problems. MASA – the proposed intergovernmental network organization – will play a pivotal role in realizing intra-regional cooperation on aquaculture among its members.

Networking makes technical cooperation economical and effective: there is no duplication from lack of communications; participating institutions and experts build on and add value to each other’s’ work; and the strengths of each person and institution in the network are brought to bear on addressing common issues. Cooperation through networking strengthens the capacities of every participant and therefore of the whole network. Sharing resources and responsibilities among institutions and countries through networking has been shown by established networks as a practical and cost-effective means for solving the diverse problems faced by aquaculture due to the diversity of species, farming systems, and environments, and varying levels of development among countries. Networking and sharing contribute to regional self-reliance.

MASA Milestones

The countries that compose Micronesia have, as with the rest of the Pacific island countries have in recent years placed aquaculture development on a higher profile. The role of aquaculture in food security, employment and income generation has been increasingly discussed in national and regional development planning forums, the latest of which is the Regional Scoping Workshop for the Development of a Pacific Aquaculture Cooperative Programme organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Nadi, Fiji, in October 2011. The Workshop reiterated the recommendation of previous meetings to establish a regional or sub-regional cooperative arrangement, specifically, a network dedicated to the expansion and development of sustainable aquaculture.

The preceding events that led to this regional workshop were the informal meeting titled “Building on Progress: An Evening on Pacific Aquaculture”, held on 23 September 2010 in conjunction with the Global Conference on Aquaculture in Phuket, Thailand; the Fifth Meeting of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) Sub-committee on Aquaculture (COFI-SCA V) on 28 September – 02 October 2010 in Phuket, Thailand; and the 9th Meeting of the FAO Southwest Pacific Ministers for Agriculture in Vava’u, Tonga on 5-7 April 2011. The latter specifically endorsed the formation of a network on aquaculture in the Pacific region.

Milestones towards the proposed establishment of MASA

These events mark the development of MASA from idea, to Project and to Organization.

11-13 June 2009 Koror, Palau. A Micronesian aquaculture network entity was proposed by the participants of the terminal workshop of the project, Sustainable Aquaculture Development in Pacific Micronesia TCP/RAS/3208.
05-07 Apr 2010: The 9th Meeting of the FAO Southwest Pacific Ministers for Agriculture in Vava’u, Tonga specifically endorsed the formation of a network on aquaculture in the Pacific region.

23 Sep 2010: FAO SAP and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) organized an informal meeting titled “Building on Progress: An Evening on Pacific Aquaculture”, held in conjunction with the Global Conference on Aquaculture in Phuket, Box 1. Thailand. The meeting discussed the prospects, feasibility and benefits of a regional aquaculture network in the Pacific. It was attended by representatives of several global, regional and national organizations, institutions and agencies whose mandate is fisheries and aquaculture development, trade, research and education.

28 Sep-02 Oct 2010: The Fifth Meeting of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) Sub-committee on Aquaculture (COFI-SCA V) in Phuket, Thailand. The proposal was presented at the Meeting, based on the recommendations of the “…Evening on Pacific Aquaculture”, by the delegates of the Pacific countries.

11-14 Oct 2011: The Regional Scoping Workshop for the Development of a Pacific Aquaculture Cooperative Programme in Nadi, Fiji; the Workshop reiterated earlier recommendations to establish a regional or sub-regional cooperative arrangement for aquaculture development.

15 Oct 2011: An informal consultation among representatives of various Pacific Island Countries (FSM, Kiribati Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Fiji, Tonga, Tuvalu and the Territory of Guam, FAO SAP, FAO FIRA, FAO RAP, and SPC in Nadi discussed the issues associated with its establishment, and the technical and legal steps to establish and make a network fully functional. The consensus was to establish a Micronesian sub-regional network, which could subsequently expand into a Pan-Pacific network.

26 July 2012. In response to the request by the governments of the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru and Republic of Palau for FAO’s technical assistance in establishing the Micronesian aquaculture network, FAO’s Subregional office for the Pacific (SAP) formulated the Project TCP/SAP/3403, Assistance in the Establishment of a Micronesian Network on Sustainable Aquaculture(the MASA Project).

29 Sep – 02 Oct 2013. Inception meeting of the MASA Project, in the US Territory of Guam, attended by technical officers of the four governments, national and regional institutions and FAO. The nature, structure, objectives and the name of the organization were proposed.

12-14 May 2014. Second sub-regional meeting of the MASA Project (TCP/SAP/3403), also held in the US Territory of Guam. MASA Agreement and the first 3-year Technical Work Programme are drafted by the legal and technical officers of the four countries, joined by representatives of academic, fishery management, farmer group, and non-government organizations. This second meeting was preceded by national stakeholders consultation meetings in FSM. RMI, Nauru and Palau carried out by the national focal points of the Project.

13-15 August 2015. MASA, as an intergovernmental network organization was endorsed for establishment by the 15th Micronesian Presidents Summit; the Presidents’ endorsement is contained in the BoknakeHaus Communique.

23-25 November 2015.Finalization and Adoption of the MASA Agreement and Administrative instruments of MASA.

25 November 2015. Inaugural Meeting of MASA

The Meetings and their objectives

There are two meetings that will be convened back-to-back from 23-25 November 2015.
1. High Level Officials and Plenipotentiaries Meeting to Establish the Micronesian Association for Sustainable Aquaculture (MASA) – 23 to 25 November 2015

The objective of the – the High Level Officials and Plenipotentiaries Meeting to Establish the Micronesian Association for Sustainable Aquaculture (MASA) – is to bring together the high level officials and credentialed delegates of the governments of the 4 Micronesian Countries:

  • To informally convene to undertake a final review of the draft founding Agreement to establish MASA and related administrative documents for the operation of MASA, to draft resolutions or decisions for adoption at the formal meeting session of high level officials and Plenipotentiaries and to propose administrative arrangements for adoption of the founding agreement and the inaugural meeting of the MASA;
  • To formally convene as a Meeting of High Level Officials and Plenipotentiaries who are duly designated and accredited to formally adopt the founding Agreement of MASA and bring the adopted founding Agreement of MASA into force by a formal process of signing or other process as reflected in the founding Agreement or as agreed;

2. MASA Inaugural Meeting– 25 November 2015

The second meeting will be a convening of the duly designated/credentialed officials or plenipotentiaries as representatives of the Governments of the 4 Micronesian States members of MASA and observers in the augural Meeting of MASA. The objectives of the Inaugural Meeting are:

  • To adopt the administrative instruments for the operation of MASA in particular the Rules of Procedure and the Financial Regulations; and,
  • Adopt resolutions or decisions for the interim or full operation of MASA including the appointment of the Coordinator, the Technical Work Programme of MASA and the date and venue of the next meeting.

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