The scale, resources, and share beauty of the Pacific Ocean are some of the many reasons why this region is so unique. The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water on the planet and hosts some of its’ richest marine ecosystems. Almost ninety-eight percent of the Pacific region is ocean; and as a result the Ocean and its extensive resources are central to the lives and future prosperity of Pacific Island peoples.
The Ocean and its coastlines provide the region’s inhabitants with a vast array of ecosystem services that underpin our inshore and oceanic fisheries, recreation, tourism, and transport sectors. The Ocean also provides a commonality that weaves our customs and cultural tradition together in a way that is unique to our region - Oceania. Our ocean also harbours new opportunities in the form of deep-sea minerals and pharmaceuticals, and alternative renewable energy sources which to this day remain largely untapped.
Without careful management and intensified cooperation between the Pacific Island and developing nations, the health of our Ocean is likely to decline in coming years. Despite its size our ocean is not immune to over-fishing, biodiversity loss and pollution - factors that are being driven by globalisation, population and of course by the slow but certain creep of climate change. Left unchecked, these impacts stand to undermine the hard fought development gains our region has attained over past few decades.
“The ocean requires global governance and understanding to ensure its long-term health and wellbeing and prosperity for all.” (Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat)
The Forum Leaders well understand the vital role the Ocean plays in the lives on Pacific Islanders. Member states and partnering organisations are working together with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to both conserve and advocate for more sustainable use of our region’s plentiful maritime resources.