WORLD OCEANS DAY JUNE 8
STATEMENT BY THE CHAIR OF THE PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM , PRIME MINISTER OF TUVALU AND
THE HONOURABLE KAUSEA NATANO
Talofa from Funafuti, Tuvalu.
I am very pleased to be able to join you this morning to commemorate World Ocean Day.
The Ocean is such a key part of our Blue Pacific Region and the lives of our people.
It is also a particularly special event as it is the first official engagement of our new Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Henry Puna. As Pacific Ocean Commissioner and Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum I am confident that you will be an effective voice for the region in advocating our ocean priorities around the world.
Our Blue Pacific Ocean is our most valuable shared resource. It is the source of our livelihood and most pertinently, our very identity as Pacific Islanders.
This special connection gives us responsibility as stewards and custodians of one of the world’s richest marine biodiversity. We must step up our efforts for the benefit of present and future generations. Our lives and livelihoods are defined by the vibrancy of our Ocean. The Blue Pacific cannot exist without a healthy and productive ocean.
As a region, we fought hard to ensure the world recognised the existence of our Ocean in the Sustainable Development Goals – and we must continue to work to ensure that we as a region and as a planet address and preserve the health of our Ocean.
I recognise that we are facing an uphill battle with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with our ongoing efforts to address climate change. Despite this, we must not neglect our responsibility as stewards of this great Ocean.
We, as Forum Leaders, have articulated our aspirations and Ocean priorities in our Forum Leaders Ocean Statement which we collectively endorsed in February.
We call for urgent action to reduce and prevent the irreversible impacts of climate change on our ocean. This is the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of our Pacific peoples.
Similarly so, our efforts to secure the limits of the Blue Pacific Continent against the threats of sea-level rise and climate change. Indeed, by doing so we will also give effect the realisation of the Blue Pacific Continent.
Our Leaders have committed to responsibly and effectively managing 100% of the Blue Pacific Ocean within and beyond national jurisdiction to ensure its health, productivity, resilience and safety, based on the best available scientific information and relevant traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities.
We also recognise that the long term sustainability of our resources, in particular our tuna, is greatly impacted and compromised by Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Moving forward, to implement an ambitious ocean agenda and effectively addressing our challenges requires funding.
Leaders have called for the development of innovative financing mechanisms, to mobilise resources to effectively implement ocean governance objectives in the region.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the path before us may seem long but I am confident that we can achieve all this together as one family and as one Blue Pacific Continent.
We all have a part to play and I encourage stakeholders to join hands with us in progressing the implementation and advocacy on these commitments. Political commitment requires ownership and we must work together in pursuing the best interests of our region.
I wish you all well and Thank You, and I now (formally) launch the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Ocean Statement.--ENDS