By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is the first country in the region to deposit its maritime boundaries baselines with the United Nations.

Speaking at the ‘Implementing the ocean-climate nexus through increased coordination and cooperation between UN bodies: opportunities for the future BBNJ (Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction) instrument side events, Pacific Ocean Commissioner Henry Puna said the ocean climate nexus is of great importance for the Pacific and for all small Island States.

“It is why any efforts for adaptation and mitigation in our small island states inevitably lead us to discussions on the health of our Blue Planet. This is why the conversations on Oceans and the cryosphere must be part of the core of conversations on urgent action, urgent ambition, urgent political will across the UNFCCC and other UN processes.

“This is why all 18 of our Forum Pacific leaders have bound themselves as one collective accord to a Declaration on securing maritime boundaries in the face of climate induced sea level rise.

“With the addition of the AOSIS nations and the International Law Society, the declaration demonstrates leadership at the global level on Ocean issues. But, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the milestone of the Federated States of Micronesia, who have paved the way for the Declaration in the way they deposited their baselines with the UN,” SG Puna said.

Forum Secretary General Puna said at the global level although there has been progress, the Ocean and Climate Change are still being addressed separately.

“The dialogue on the ocean and climate change organised by the SBSTA last December recognised there’s work to be done. To break down silos across processes and practice. To better understand the synergies between ocean, climate change, sustainable development and biodiversity. In short, to just work smarter, and together.

“So how should we go about this? We have many opportunities, be it the future BBNJ instrument, the post-2020 framework on biodiversity, and many more. These instruments are of great importance for us in the Pacific, and indeed for all Small Island Developing States.

“We are using the development of our 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific to reinforce the prioritisation of ocean and climate change considerations into all regional and national policies and plans. It will ensure the centrality of the ocean as the core for all we do, and how we do it,” said Puna.

He said there needs to be a similar approach at the international level too.

“Different sectors and processes must work together. Therefore, the discussions you will have today will contribute to global reflection on how to endeavour to build linkages between different processes, instruments and frameworks,” said Puna.