Pacific Islands showcasing Pacific solutions to the global ocean crisis took centre stage today. The Pacific’s leading scientific and environmental organisations came together to co-host a side event at the United Nations Oceans Conference in partnership with Members and partners.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) organised the side event to highlight how the Pacific islands region is applying the best available science and traditional knowledge to forge and strengthen partnerships to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14.
The Pacific Islands region is working across the UN decade of Ocean Science to bring solutions and actions to build a sustainable Blue Pacific.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Director General, Mr Cameron Diver said: “A healthy ocean is our greatest nature based solution to so many development challenges and partnerships are central to developing and implementing solutions that help ensure a sustainable Pacific Ocean and thereby a sustainable future for the countries and communities SPC serves, and also for all those around the globe who, whether they realise it or not, rely daily on the world’s greatest ocean for so many different things.”
Titled ‘A Sustainable Blue Pacific Continent: Scaling up action through Ocean Science and Traditional knowledge for informed governance, the side event was held on the final day of the United Nations Ocean Conference where global leaders adopted a ‘one ocean, one voice’ approach.
Sustainable development goal is the least funded of all the SDGs with only 1% of available funding going to the Pacific.
In a week that saw Pacific leaders urging the international community to support sustainable blue economies to combat plastic pollution and protect marine biodiversity the side event showcased the vital work being done in the region that has the most to lose from inaction on ocean health.
“Partnerships underpin our work at SPREP. The ocean is ours, and as such, our solutions for improved ocean health must be done together in partnership. Working collectively to amplify our Pacific voices at the UN Ocean Conference has led to a louder message being echoed in these halls,” said Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
“We look forward to working with you all in partnership, to continue our Pacific Ocean leadership. We are excited by the opportunities to scale up our Pacific action through ocean science and traditional knowledge for informed governance.”
The side event was moderated by the Director General of SPREP. It featured Hon. Mr Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu, Minister of Culture, Environment and Marine Resources of French Polynesia who presented on Coral Reef Action; H.E Dr Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Pa'olelei Luteru, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of the Independent State of Samoa to the United Nations presented on Samoa: Weather Ready Pacific – A Decadal Programme of Investment; Mr Richard Bontjer, Director, Environment, Oceans and Biodiversity Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia who spoke on the Pacific Ocean Little Project; Dr Eric Kwa of the Papua New Guinea Department of Justice Attorney General presented on the Marine Scientific Research Database and Monitoring System, Mr Filimone Ralogaivau from Climate Change and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Economy for Fiji; Ms Nicola Reid, the New Zealand Permanent Delegate to UNESCO the Science, governance and traditional knowledge under the UN Decade, both in Aotearoa New Zealand and in the Pacific.
The event closed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between IOC-UNESCO and SPC formalising collaboration between IOC-UNESCO, SPC and Members. The MoU was signed by Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of IOC/UNESCO and Cameron Diver, Deputy-Director General SPC.
The UN Ocean side event was held on 1 July from 2.30 to 3.45pm facilitated by the Pacific Community and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) with the co-organising partnership support of Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO , FFA, and The Pacific Islands Forum.