Across the world, thousands of people will be gathering at hundreds of events to celebrate World Oceans Day. United under this year’s theme, ‘Healthy oceans, healthy planet, events will take place on and around June 8, the day officially recognized since 2008 by the United Nations.
Closer to home, activities are being organized to celebrate this event with the ultimate aim of protecting the oceans. Pacific Oceans Commissioner, Dame Meg Taylor hosted guests and stakeholders to an afternoon tea at the Forum Secretariat today to celebrate our ocean and call our Pacific Ocean Alliance community to action.
“World Oceans Day is not just a day for hype and high tea – it is a call to action, “said Dame Meg Taylor. “I take this role very seriously and have recently had the pleasure of immersing myself in three days of intensive ocean discussions at our inaugural Pacific Ocean Alliance meeting on our High Hopes for High Seas,” she said.
“Seeing such a diverse group of people coming together with one common interest – our ocean – really brought home to me just how central – and vital – the ocean is to everything we do here in the Pacific.”
“We heard at the meeting that the imperative to proclaim our maritime boundaries is becoming increasingly urgent, especially in the context of a new implementing agreement for biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. We must act now to protect what is rightfully ours and supporting our countries and our partners at SPC to progress this work will be one of my key priorities as Pacific Ocean Commissioner.”
The theme for this year’s World Oceans Day is Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet with a focus on stopping plastic pollution, of which 80% is estimated to come from land-based sources. “The Oceans connects us as Pacific Island nations. Marine debris is one of the greatest threats there is to our livelihoods, our culture and our economies. We only need to look into our Harbour at low tide to see the evidence of that threat,” she added. “Importantly in this case – this is a threat that we as individuals can directly influence through our own actions.”
With this in mind, the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner and Pacific Ocean Alliance partners are coordinating a cleanup of the Suva foreshore this Thursday, 11 June. Coastal cleanups are being undertaken throughout the region from Suva and Caqalai Island here in Fiji, to Apia in Samoa, and the Majuro atoll in the Marshall Islands. “This is a real show of regional solidarity to focus on local action to highlight a global problem,” said Dame Taylor.
The coastal cleanup is open to all interested community members, from 8-10am Thursday 11 June, near the FIRCA building, Nasese, Suva. To register please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the Pacific Ocean Commissioner
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, is the current Pacific Ocean Commissioner. The Commissioner works with Leaders in the region and across the world, with international organisations, the private sector and civil society to:
• strengthen ocean governance;
• improve understanding of challenges and opportunities in the region;
• build support for the region’s efforts to sustainably develop, manage and conserve the ocean;
• strengthen coordination and collaboration between ocean stakeholders, this includes fostering inter and intra regional cooperation; and
• evaluate progress made against the FPO and other ocean related policies and decisions.
The region’s first Pacific Ocean Commissioner was appointed by Forum Leaders in 2011, fulfilling Action 2A under the Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape (FPO). In creating this position, Leaders ensured the Pacific region had a champion to provide the necessary high level representation and commitment urgently for dedicated advocacy and attention to Pacific Ocean priorities, decisions and processes at national, regional and international levels.
The Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner (OPOC) has been established within PIFS to provide dedicated professional support to the Commissioner.
Enquiries can be directed to the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner via email: email@example.com
For media enquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org