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Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) have been told to step up and use the global space created by the United Nations Oceans Conference in June co-chaired by Fiji and Sweden, to ‘project our voices and protect our interests.’
The call was made by Ambassador Marlene Moses, the chair of the Pacific SIDS in New York, the group of Pacific countries leading the negotiations on oceans on behalf of the region. The June conference in New York is the first ever on oceans governance after 193 world leaders endorsed the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015.
Oceans Governance comes under SDG Goal 14 of ‘Life below Water.”
Reflecting on the work of PSIDS in New York and the hosting of the global oceans conference, Ambassador Moses said the focus on oceans or ‘blue economy’ had been on the PSIDS discussion since 2011 when the region was preparing for Rio+20.
“As a result, oceans was reflected in the Rio+20 and in the outcomes of the Third SIDS conference in Samoa, now known as the SAMOA Pathway. The SAMOA Pathway has a robust section on oceans.
“Our diplomatic efforts have been successful in the past six years with the convening of the UN Oceans conference and Fiji as one of the co-chairs of the meeting.
Ambassador Moses challenged delegates at the multi-stakeholder regional preparatory meeting in Suva today to ‘act now when the focus is on ocean governance and the means to implement strategies to support development priorities of UN member states.
“We have worked hard to get to this point. We must now project our voices and protect our interests.
For the conference, the three key outcomes will be on improving oceans governance, ensuring means of implementation and building national capacity and institutions to deliver on the goals of the conference.
“We need to actively engage with development partners and demand more from UN agencies on what they can do to support our development priorities based on our needs.
At the same time, she has urged governments to ‘have their houses in order’ and ensure that they have the capacity to access and deploy resources for our communities.
Ambassador Moses said sustainable development in the Pacific is not be possible if climate change is not addressed.
“We need to breathe life into global agreements like the Paris Agreement on climate change, the SDGs and the SAMOA Pathway. These agreements are inseparable because they link climate change with ocean health and food security.’
The three day regional preparatory meeting in Suva will prepare and firm up the positions of Pacific SIDS and other regional stakeholders on the outcome of the New York conference. The Oceans Conference is will deliver a political declaration through a Call for Action statement, convene partnership dialogues and call for voluntary commitments from UN Member States.
The meeting in Fiji is an opportunity for Pacific Governments and stakeholders to have an input into the proposed outcomes of the New York conference in June.
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