Government signs Memorandum of Understanding for the conservation and management of dugongs

Mon. 10 of September of 2018, 15:39h

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Demetrio de Amaral de Carvalho, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) for the conservation and management of dugongs and their habitats, on 10 September at the Government Palace in Dili.

The ceremony for the signing of the memorandum was also attended by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Joaquim José Gusmão dos Reis Martins, the Secretary of State for Social Communication, Merício dos Reis 'Akara', the manager of the Dugong MOU program at CMS, Donna Kwan, the Director-General for Fisheries, the Director-General for Environment and representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the of Secretariat of State for the Environment.

The Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats (Dugong MOU) aims to promote internationally coordinated actions to ensure the long-term survival of dugongs and their habitats. The Dugong MOU came into effect on October 31, 2007 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.IMG_8928

The Dugong MOU recognizes the extensive distribution of dugongs, covering some 140,000 km of coast in more than 40 countries in the region of the Pacific, from the east coast of Africa to the islands of the Western Pacific. The Dugong MOU adds value to national conservation programs by facilitating the exchange of essential information, by promoting the adoption and/or adaptation of best practices from other participating countries and subregions and by providing services and products to signatory States to increase their conservation capacity of dugongs, a species at risk of extinction.

IMG_8934During the ceremony, the Secretary of State for the Environment thanked the Government of Timor-Leste for its work on the conservation of migratory species and for its support and dedication to the protection and conservation of dugongs and their habitat in Timor-Leste. He also expressed satisfaction and pride for the fact that Timor-Leste is part of the group of 27 countries that signed this memorandum, reaffirming Timor-Leste's commitment to protecting dugong and its habitat.

In his speech, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries stressed that this MOU will enable Timor-Leste to improve its knowledge and resources for the protection of its marine species, a national resource that can become a major tourist attraction. He also said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the Directorate General for Fisheries, has already developed a final draft on the National Maritime Policy for Timor-Leste with the main objective of managing maritime economic development through a legal framework and legislation protect marine resources and strengthen international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. IMG_8912

Donna Kwan from CMS expressed her satisfaction at formally receiving Timor-Leste into the Dugong MOU family as the 27th signatory State. She also emphasized the fact that Timor-Leste is already committed to global conservation, notably through participation in the Global Fund for Environment (GEF)’s dugong and seagrass conservation project, to which Timor-Leste has given a significant contribution to the international efforts of conservation of dugong and seagrass.