The Parties to the Nauru Agreement and Tokelau met at Ministerial level by video conference on 12 and 13 November. During a meeting that celebrated the first decade of the PNA Office’s establishment in Majuro, Marshall Islands, a key agenda item was consideration of the report of the PNA officials’ interview panel following the recruitment process for the PNA Office Chief Executive Officer. Following an extensive and  comprehensive recruitment process involving advertisement on an international recruitment website and in the national newspapers of all Parties, Ministers are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Sangaalofa Clark, as the new PNA Office Chief Executive Officer.

The PNA Ministerial Chair, the Hon Sandy Alfred, Minister of Natural Resources, Commerce and Development, Republic of Marshal Islands said: “We are thrilled to be able to appoint such a high-quality person with Dr. Clark’s reputation and experience. Dr. Clark is a Kiribati national who has built a career in the management of tuna fisheries. For the last decade, Dr. Clark has led the PNA Office’s policy push into a whole range of areas critical to the sustainable management of our regional tuna fisheries.

We look forward to Dr. Clark taking up the post and to leading the PNA Office into its second decade.” Dr. Clark responded by saying: “I am deeply honoured to be appointed into this new position. I acknowledge the great work of the CEOs before me and thank the outgoing CEO, Ludwig, for all the great work he has done. I look forward to continuing the work and serving the Parties to the best of my ability, as well as to working with the PNA Office team, in my new role. Our tuna fisheries are the most sustainable in the world but that does not mean we should relax. We are facing a whole range of existing and emerging threats, not least of all from climate change, the warming of oceans, and sea level rise, so we need to refocus on these new issues and get more of our nationals involved and doing work and support in these areas and in tuna management. The strength of the PNA has always been the willingness of the Parties to collaborate and cooperate to make hard decisions in the best interests of the collective group, even if those decisions have an impact on the individual country. The consensus decision making process has been the key to this stability and I look forward to helping Parties to continue with their success.”

Dr Clark currently lives in New Zealand with her husband and family and will take up appointment as soon as COVID-19 travel restrictions permit.

Ministers expressed their appreciation for the hard work of the outgoing CEO, Mr Ludwig Kumoru, and the achievements of the Office under his leadership, in particular the significant range of governance reforms, including the new strategic and business plans approved in 2019, and the new funding strategy approved by Ministers this year.

Mr Kumoru said: “Working for the Parties has been one of the best experiences of my life. Every day there is a new challenge facing our tuna fishery. I have learnt a lot about managing organisations and the challenges of working with nine countries. What I have learnt in the last four years will stay with me for my whole life and I am grateful to the Parties for placing their trust in me, and to the Office staff for their support and hard work.”

The current Chief Executive Officer has agreed to remain in the post until the new CEO can travel to Majuro.