Dili, 28 January 2016. The Authority of the Oé-Cusse Ambeno Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Special Economic Zones of Social Market Economy of Timor-Leste (ZEESM TL) and Blue Ventures, an award-winning social enterprise specializing in marine research, ecotourism and sustainable fisheries, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Dili. The MOU, which will be in place for five years, was signed by Dr. Mari Alkatiri, President of the Authority of the Oé-Cusse Ambeno SAR and ZEESM TL and Mr. Richard Nimmo, Managing Director of Blue Ventures.
Under the MOU, brokered by the UNDP under the Supporting the Institutional Development of the Oé-Cusse Ambeno SAR and ZEESM TL Project, Blue Ventures will work in collaboration with the Oe-Cusse administration to develop and promote locally led marine conservation, provide research and advisory services for agribusinesses and support Timor-Leste’s nascent ecotourism industry. Efforts will also be made to build capacity for fisheries management, sustainable aquaculture and locally led marine protected areas in Ataúro and Oé-Cusse Ambeno. Blue Ventures will also be part of the Advisory Panel for the Social Enterprise and Economic Development (SEED) Fund, the Oe-Cusse administration’s flagship initiative for promoting agribusiness and ecobusiness, which it is implementing in partnership with the UNDP.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Alkatiri stated that “The signing of this MOU signals the beginning of what we expect to be a long term engagement with Blue Ventures. I am sure we will be able to develop strategies that will help deliver on our vision for sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity and for putting Oé-Cusse Ambeno and Ataúro on the world map as a preferred ecotourism destination. I want to see a future where not only do we protect and promote I also think this collaboration reduce the risks of climate change and at the same time, create employment in the tourism sector”.
In his remarks, Mr. Nimmo welcomed the opportunity of working with the Oé-Cusse administration and thanked President Alkatiri for choosing to work with Blue Ventures. “We are looking forward to embarking on this partnership to address the challenges facing coastal communities and marine biodiversity conservation in Timor-Leste. Blue Ventures has developed a track record of successfully implementing similar initiatives in several other countries and we are delighted that the Authority of the Oé-Cusse Ambeno SAR and ZEESM TL has placed their trust in us. There is a clear need for an effective response to climate risks and we are encouraged both by the fact that the Oé-Cusse administration has established the Climate Action Task Force and the SEED Fund and we are looking to actively add value to both forums”.