Pacific Island leaders re-affirm their commitment to ocean leadership, innovation and partnerships

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The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders Monday renewed their commitment and reaffirmed the region’s solidarity in advancing climate action and ocean conservation.

This was conveyed this evening at the “Blue Pacific Leaders Oceans Panel,” with the theme, “Ocean Leadership, Innovation and Partnerships,” convened during the first day of the 51st Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting in Suva.

The discussions amongst the PIF Leaders included an overview of the importance of the Pacific Oceans to our region’s sustainable development.

Discussions were led by Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Chair and Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, President of Palau, President Surangel Whipps Jr and Premier of Niue, Dalton Tagelagi.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Bainimarama said, “Currently, less than three percent of the earth’s oceans are fully protected. This is a grossly clear indication that change is needed; business as usual is spelling disaster in real time, right before our eyes.

“My fellow Pacific Islanders, every single one of us here regards the ocean as the beating heart of our island economies, our culture, and our way of life. This is a significant part of why we developed the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.”

The Prime Minister said that, “At the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, I was happy to join President Whipps of Palau to launch the Alliance for a Moratorium on Deep Sea Mining. Deep Sea mining has no place in a sustainable blue economy; nor is it needed to decarbonize and transition to renewable energy.

“Similarly, Fiji and the Marshall Islands have co-chaired the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership that is now being resurrected post-pandemic. The partnership demands a transition and transformation of our domestic and regional shipping.

“Friends, as a united Pacific, we not only have the responsibility – but also the capability to establish a Blue Pacific Wall of protected ocean. I urge all our pacific countries to join together to ensure our regional waters are 100% managed – with 30% protected.

“Our region should ultimately become the world’s largest supplier of sustainable tropical blue foods. Our 2050 Strategy is geared towards this – and we need financing and partnerships to make this happen.”

President Whipps said the Pacific nations need to work together to protect our oceans through innovative ways. He assured his support to Fiji and the region in protecting our Blue Pacific Oceans and in strengthening our collective voice on the issues of climate and oceans.

He also thanked Prime Minister Bainimarama for hosting the 51PIFLM which brings to the forefront the issues of importance to the region.

Premier of Niue, Tagelagi thanked Prime Minister for his strong leadership on climate and oceans issues.

He said the talanoa sessions is an important platform to strengthen partnerships, to ensure sustainable oceans for a resilient Blue Pacific region, as our life depends on the oceans.

There were exchange of views among the PIF Leaders on how best we can collectively protect the Blue Oceans for the future generations and its importance for building a resilient Blue Pacific.

The PIF leaders called for increased cooperation at all levels to actively address climate induced challenges and protect the Blue Ocean, as the lives of Pacific people depends on it.

There were emphasis on the opportunities for greater cooperation at global and regional stages on enhancing support for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) given they are the most affected by the impact of climate change and also their duty to protecting the oceans health.

The PIF Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work closely as a Pacific Family in protecting our Blue Oceans, and during the next few days at 51st PIFLM, the leaders will pursue more discussions on realising shared goals towards oceans conservation and climate mitigation strategies.

The Panel also highlighted the importance of the 2050 strategy which, sets out the Blue Pacific’s long-term approach to working together as a region, in support of the national priorities of the PIF Members.

The Strategy comprises of the Leaders’ vision for the region and of the seven key thematic areas designed to support the achievement of the Blue Pacific’s vision, “Climate Change” and “Ocean and Environment” are key components of the Strategy.

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS