Pacific Oceans Commissioner, Fiji PM bring Blue Pacific priorities to Lisbon


With the ocean at the heart of Pacific cultures, security and economies, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum and Pacific Ocean Commissioner,  Henry Puna, is amongst the Pacific travellers to Lisbon this weekend.

The Secretary General will join the Forum Chair, PM of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, who is also former Co-President of the inaugural UN Ocean Conference. Prime Minister Bainimarama will deliver the Pacific Islands Forum statement to the main Conference session of the 2nd UN Oceans Conference, starting on 27 June.

The Secretary General will host a special event as part of the Conference on 01 July to drive solutions and actions on climate change and sea-level rise for our one Blue Pacific Ocean.

“After being postponed for two years due to COVID-19, the 2nd UN Oceans Conference is a key global moment to take stock of progress to deliver on a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) with special relevance for our Pacific nations,” said SG Puna.

“The Pacific was instrumental in achieving an SDG dedicated to the ocean (SDG 14). However, since the first UN Oceans Conference, global, regional, and national action to achieve SDG 14 has been lacking. With increasing climate change impacts, marine pollution, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU) fishing, the world must urgently get back on track to protect and ensure the sustainability of our one Blue Ocean.”

Forum Members have agreed to nine regional priorities to champion at the 2nd UN Oceans Conference. These are:

1. Support for Forum Leaders’ Declaration on Preserving Maritime Boundaries in the face of Climate Change-Related Sea-Level Rise

2. Promoting the upcoming 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent

3. Urgent climate change action through the UNFCCC and other global mechanisms

4. Secure a robust and ambitious international, legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdictions (BBNJ)

5. Action to address longstanding issues of nuclear testing legacy in the Pacific and to safeguard the Pacific Ocean from nuclear contamination

6. Pacific Rim and all countries to expeditiously implement measures to prevent and effectively manage marine pollution and litter, in accordance with international law

7. Finance and support for a Blue Pacific sustainable blue economy and to maximise the sustainable economic returns of the Pacific region’s fisheries including an end to illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing and harmful fisheries subsidies

8. UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to support increased investment in science, data, and information in our region

9. Achievement of SDG 14 and its targets by 2030, recognising Pacific leadership to establish this oceans-focused goal.

The 2nd UN Oceans Conference takes place on the back of the Palau-hosted Our Ocean Conference in April, which delivered a total of 410 ocean commitments worth more than USD$16 billion.

The theme of the 2nd UN Oceans Conference is ‘Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions.’ The Conference features eight plenary sessions, eight interactive dialogues, special events and side events.