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The 6th meeting of the Joint Commission makes significant progress in the partnership to manage the Joint Management Area in the Mascarene Plateau Region

May 08, 2015

The 6th meeting of the Joint Commission today endorsed the three-year Strategic Plan for the Joint Management Area in the Mascarene Plateau Region. The meeting was preceded by the Technical Meeting between the two states which took place at the same venue from the 5th to the 7th of May 2015.

The meeting was hosted by the Government of Seychelles with the participation of a high level delegation from Mauritius. The Seychelles delegation was headed by Mr. Raymond whilst Mr. Seebaluck led the Mauritian delegation.

Mr. Philippe Michaud, Special Advisor, from the Ministry of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy officially opened the sixth meeting of the Joint Commission. He congratulated the technical teams from Seychelles and Mauritius for their hard work and commendable achievements since the Treaty was signed in 2012. Mr. Michaud stressed on the importance of setting up the Designated Authority provided for in the Treaty so as to complete the three tiered structure for the effective management of the JMA.

On his part, Mr. Seebaluck, Secretary to Cabinet and Head of Civil Service also took the opportunity to convey his appreciation to the Government of Seychelles for the warm welcome and excellent hospitality extended to the Mauritian delegation. He reiterated the strong commitment of his government to ensure timely finalisation of all the arrangements necessary for the sustainable exploration and exploitation of the resources of the Joint Management Area for the benefit of the people of the two countries. Mr. Seebaluck added that organisational structure dealing with Continental Shelf issues at the Prime Minister’s Office has been reinforced by creating a new Department of Continental Shelf, Marine Zones Administration and Exploration under its aegis.

The Department will henceforth be responsible for issues concerning the Joint Management Area, pending the establishment of the Designated Authority.

The Commissioners followed up on the matters arising on the 5th meeting held in Mauritius in September 2014. Ambassador J. Koonjul, the Co-Chair of the Technical Committee reported on the proceedings of the Technical Committees meeting amongst which the proposed Strategic Plan was tabled before the Joint Commission for their endorsement.

The three-year Strategic Plan is aimed at setting the scene for proper, effective and efficient development of the JMA and the establishment of the necessary structures for sustainable management of the resources in its seabed and subsoil. Its overarching Goal is to ensure that maritime activities in the JMA are implemented in a rational and sustainable manner that would allow the optimum utilisation of the resources for the benefit of the people of the Republic of Seychelles and the Republic of Mauritius.

During the three-year span, the Joint Commission will focus on five main strategic objectives:

  1. Setting up the institutional framework and building technical capacity necessary to govern the Joint Management Area (JMA)

  2. Promoting the JMA as an attractive destination for investment by international oil companies

  3. Setting-up a centralised data and information system for the management of the JMA

  4. Defining priorities for data acquisition for the management of the JMA

  5. Establishing a comprehensive system of multi-use marine planning for improved decision-making for sustainable marine activities in the JMA.

The Strategic Plan excluding the Action Plan will be published and disseminated to the general public during the next Ministerial Council Meeting, which will take place later this year in Mauritius.

Further discussions were held on the legal requirements for the establishment of the Designated Authority, such as the host country agreement, legal charter and its incorporation into respective local laws. Pending the establishment of the Designated Authority it was agreed that the focal points will be reinforced so that a dedicated official from each side will attend to the day to day activities and liaise with each other

On the issue of expression of interest of the multi-client surveys within the JMA, the Commissioners resolved to adopt a transparent approach in dealing with such requests and to set parameters to appraise the same. Nine (9) international operators will be invited to submit offers.

The Joint Commission also decided to organise a logo competition for the JMA which will be open to Mauritian and Seychellois aged between 15 to 25 years. Winners (first and second) will be awarded a cash prize of USD2000 and USD1000 respectively.

The next meeting of the Joint Commission will take place late July in Mauritius.

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