Vanuatu, and the world, has two options: a path of unsustainable use of our ocean resources or a transition to more ecologically sustainable, ecosystem- based ocean management. Through this ocean policy, Vanuatu is choosing the latter option- a sustainable ocean future. Vanuatu is an ocean state with jurisdiction over an extensive maritime area including significant living and non-living marine resources that, as mentioned, make significant contribution to the country’s economy and our people’s cultural identity. This ocean include an amazing variety of habitants wich are interlinked and inter-reliant, for example, seamount, coral reefs, deep ocean ridges , mangroves, seabed troughs, seagrass beds, hydro thermal vents, oceanic trenches and deep water basins. In order to fully benefit from the range of resources these habitats bring us, there is a need to better coordinate management across different marine sector and the resource users and to integrate environmental management directly with economic development, fiscal policy and social goals. Social goals include protecting our maritime culture which remains at the heart of every citizen of Vanuatu.
Despite the preparation of a number of strategies and policies of relevance to the governance of Vanuatu’s marine space, no single overarching legislation or national policy exists to harmonize and coordinate these at the national level nor support local traditional marine resources management practices. The existing policy framework is inadequate for supporting the integrated approach needed in ocean governance. Fundamental changes are therefore requiredin the way our marine space is managed and regulated . central to such a change is the need to transition to a more integrated governance approach that support traditional marine resources management as well as government led management and requires all uses and values to be considered. This national Ocean Policy is the Government’s policy statement for the management of its sovereign water and marine ecosystems through to 2030. The policy has been developed by the ocean Sub-Committee of the National committee for Maritime Boundary Delimitation. This Sub-Committee was also tasked to undertake discussions and consultations with marine stakeholder nationally and with other related initiatives regionally and globally on the Ocean Policy. It is acknowledged that this Ocean Policy contributes to Vanuatu’s efforts effort to implementation sustainable Development Goal 14 eme Oceans, to build marine ecosystem resilience to climate change and to natural disaster and commitments under then Convention of Biological Diversity. This National Ocean Policy sets out the new policy direction for modern marine management wich includes traditional marine resources management knowledge and system. The policy includes ecosystem-based ocean management and planning, and it describes the implementation arrangements and guiding principles for better the convention of biological diversity.
The National Ocean Policy outlines the overarching structure for management of our ocean is framed around the Nakamal (the naka,al is an institution for traditional custom governing systems for around the Vanuatu):
• The foundation is an ecosystem-based approach to management as envisaged and implemented by our forefathers using traditional marine resources management systems ;
• Upon the foundation are three pillars: the multi-dimensional value of our ocean ; the integration across boundaries, across sectors, across governance structure and, thirdly, our resilient and intinstic ocean culture;
• The supporting beam across the Nakamal is the overarching institutional arrangements; and
• The thatched roof is emblematic of the sectoral and cross-sectoral policy actions that will protect the nakamal.