Papua New Guinea is hosting the first in-person ATSEA 4th Regional Steering Committee meeting post-COVID-19.

National Fisheries Authority managing director Justin llakini said for more than two years, the committees of the Arafura and Timor Seas (ATSEA) shared by Australia, Indonesia, PNG and Timor Leste have been confined to conducting the Regional Steering Committee (RSC) meetings and coordination through digital platforms due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said but despite all the challenges, together they have weathered the storm and have sustained their dialogue and cooperation.

“This 4th RSC meeting serves as the first in-person meeting of ATSEA-2 Partners. This year, we have entered into the second half of the remaining timeframe of the ATSEA-2 project and we are now starting to see results arising from the different sub-national, national and regional initiatives in support of the implementation of the ATS Regional Strategic Action Program (SAP),” he said.

“We are also moving toward laying the necessary mechanisms to ensure continuity of our efforts.

The work at hand is becoming more challenging by the day but with our firm commitment as one region, we will surely achieve the targets that we have set for ATSEA-2.”

Mr llakini said said PNG is not a newcomer to the ATSEA program and as an observer during ATSEA-1, PNG actively participated and contributed particularly in the development of the region’s first transboundary diagnostic analysis (TDA).

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