5:30pm (Fiji Standard Time), Friday
04 October 2019
Suva, Fiji: The Pacific Ocean Alliance has met over the last week in Fiji to discuss ways in which they can collectively and actively engage on the region’s ocean policy towards ensuring a healthy, productive and resilience Blue Pacific.
In her opening address, the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Dame Meg Taylor stressed that the future of our ocean is in our hands.
Dame Meg reminded the participants from governments, non government organisations, private sector academia, youth, regional media and development partners of the main purpose of the Alliance of advancing the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ vision under the Framework for the Pacific Oceanscape, which is for ‘ secure future for Pacific Island Countries and Territories based on sustainable development, management and conservation of our ocean’.
“The role of the Pacific Ocean Alliance in advancing this vision is critical as it ensures coherence, cooperation and coordination across the multiple sectors and cross-cutting thematic issues that make up and, or impact our ocean and islands economies, societies and ecosystems – to enable concerted action as one interconnected ocean and blue continent,’” says Dame Meg.
The meeting is timely as the region is preparing to engage in major upcoming international ocean events soon and in 2020 and beyond. These include Our Ocean Conference in Oslo in November, the UNFCCC COP 25 in Chile in December and in 2020 the ongoing BBNJ negotiations; the second UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon; the launch of the UN Decade on Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the Our Ocean Conference in Palau.
Given the composition of the alliance, Dame Meg acknowledged the guidance and direction that could be provided on what they need to do “to further support the health, productivity and resilience of our Blue Pacific continent and adjacent high seas, and its resources on and within – for the benefit of our generation and those to come after us.”
The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Ocean Ambassador Peter Thomson also attended and urged the alliance to concentrate on coming up with solutions to the challenges faced by the ocean.
“We have a clear plan: to stay faithful to the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN’s Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals; in particular, to implement the targets of SDG14, the Ocean Goal that requires us to conserve and sustainably use the Ocean’s resources. Let sustainability be the over-riding principle in our decision-making, so that we do indeed meet our moral obligations,” said Ambassador Thomson.
“In the Pacific we are blessed with strong regional institutions with ocean management and conservation responsibilities. Let us strengthen them further, and bring them into partnerships for the common good with philanthropies NGOs and other friends from beyond our shores.”
He emphasised that a healthy planetary ecosystem without a healthy Ocean ecosystem and humanity was responsible for destroying it.
“We dump our industrial, agricultural and sewage waste, into the rivers and coastal waters. We willfully over exploit the resources of the Ocean.”
He shares that the Pacific has a moral obligation to lead the way in ocean conservation and sustainable management.
“This is through global messaging, global action, and walking the talk back here in the islands. Of course, this is true for the question of adding any new stressors to the Ocean’s ecosystem, and we must view decisions on them through this lens of morality.”
The Alliance will continue to discuss how to improve collective discussions and engagement and action on a wide range of multidisciplinary, multi sector issues relating to the ocean and its resources that require integrated approaches.