The 2015 Director-General’s Awards for staff excellence at the Pacific Community (SPC) have recognised employees working in coastal fisheries, human resources and ICT who are based across the Pacific Islands region.

“The annual awards recognise and reward the outstanding service and commitment of SPC employees who, often working behind-the-scenes, do our organisation and the Pacific region proud,” the Pacific Community Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, said during a Gala Awards dinner at SPC headquarters in Noumea on Friday.

The Member Collaboration category recognises excellence by a team in collaborating with one or more Pacific Community member and was awarded to the Coastal Fisheries Science and Management team for their central role in developing A New Song for Coastal Fisheries – Pathways to Change: The Noumea Strategy.

The team members are: Lindsay Chapman, Ian Bertram, Marie-Thérèse Bui, Dr Bradley Moore, Nadia Helagi, Franck Magron and Etuati Ropeti (based in Noumea); Pita Neihapiu and Rolenas Baereleo (based in Vanuatu) and Ben Namakin and Uriam Tarateiti (based in Kiribati).

The strategy provides direction for coastal fisheries management in the Pacific, with a strong community-driven approach, and was developed earlier this year through a participatory process involving representatives from all 22 Pacific Island countries and territories, community groups, donors, researchers, NGOs and other Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) agencies.

“At national and sub-national levels, the ‘new song’ has facilitated greater political recognition of the value of coastal fisheries to food security, nutrition supply and community livelihoods, and I commend the SPC staff for their contribution to this breakthrough,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

A former SPC Director-General, Jimmie Rodgers, was a special guest at the ceremony, on hand to announced Suva-based Senior Human Resources Generalist, Leon Takimoana, as the recipient of the Jimmie Rodgers Emerging Leader Award for 2015.

“It’s my privilege to come to work every day and play a part in supporting the SPC Human Resources agenda to return improved outcomes to the people of SPC, for without them, our organisation would not exist,” Mr Takimoana said in his acceptance speech via a video link.

The Teamwork and Innovation category was won by ICT Suva for introducing new initiatives alongside ongoing staff training and technical support. The team comprises: Shekhar Balram, Vincent Kanimea, Tuicakau Kasaimatuku, Ian McGregor, Endar Singh, Usaia Tawakevou, Bhavesh Chandra, Darryl Woo, Agamanand Mishra, Fiona Robinson, Lovoti Nasaroa, Rovil Nand, Tamalesi Vavali, Avishek Chandra and Paefou Panapa.

The annual awards were generously supported by SPC’s banking partner, ANZ.

“Sponsoring this special event to honour high performing staff was a small token of appreciation for SPC’s custom and partnership,” said ANZ CEO Pacific and CEO Fiji, Vishnu Mohan.

“We are very proud of these sorts of longstanding relationships with our customers, and in particular with esteemed establishments such as SPC that work towards achieving sustainable development across the region,” Mr Mohan added.

ANZ’s relationship with SPC dates back to the days of Bank of New Zealand, which ANZ acquired in 1990.

The recipients of the Director-General’s Awards were decided by a staff vote, conducted by the Staff Representative Council, and a troika of past, current and future chairpersons of SPC’s Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA) and the Pacific Community Conference.

Dr Tukuitonga thanked Michael Aroi of Nauru (Chairperson of CRGA 45), Anne-Claire Goarant of New Caledonia (Vice-Chairperson at CRGA 45), and Richard Hipa of Niue (representing Niue as Chair of the 9th Conference) for their involvement in the 2015 edition of the awards.

“SPC has a dynamic and capable workforce whose expertise spans more than 25 sectors, enabling us to contribute to development progress in the Pacific, and it’s important that outstanding efforts are acknowledged by their peers and celebrated publicly,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

Media contact: Lauren Robinson   Acting SPC Media Relations Team Leader, laurenr@spc.int+679 337 9250