By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

Pacific Ocean Commissioner Dr Filimon Manoni Wednesday reiterated the need for strategic planning and genuine partnerships to address the challenges faced by Pacific nations in the era of climate change.

“This journey as Pacific Islands is about ensuring that the great work undertaken for centuries by our people through traditional knowledge in safeguarding our resources and the health of the oceans is maintained throughout humanity because climate change stands in the way of all of us,” said Dr Manoni at a side event on oceans, organised by the Office of Oceans Commissioner (OPOC) at the COP28 in Dubai.

He urged Pacific nations not to be left behind in global conversations on climate change and oceans.

“Let’s inject ourselves into that conversation, let’s leverage on global processes to ensure that, however small our voices are, they are still heard at the global level,” he said.

Acknowledging the weight of responsibility, Dr Manoni emphasised the importance of being strategic in moving forward.

“We have come here having done much for the oceans, for the communities, for resources, to ensure that climate change does not change the way we have lived and known the relationship with the oceans for centuries.”

Dr Manoni highlighted the Pacific’s quest of genuine and mutually beneficial partnerships.

“We want partnerships that are long-lasting, meaningful, and responsive to the needs of the Pacific in the oceans,” he emphasised.

Consistency in messaging and long-term strategic approaches were key points stressed by the Pacific Ocean Commissioner.

“We want to make sure that the message is not lost and that there are long-term strategic approaches,” he said.

Dr Manoni emphasised the importance of a forward-looking strategy.

Speaking about the period between COP28 and COP31, Dr Manoni rallied support for Australia and set a target to avoid isolated efforts.

“We are all behind you, Australia, in this voyage. The approach is strategic, aiming for consistency in messaging to generate support and understanding for long-term vision,” he said.

Dr Manoni’s approach aims for consistency in messaging to generate support and understanding from partners.

“If we do this in a more structured, strategic, innovative, outside-the-box type of thinking, we will be able to generate that type of support and understanding from those who we want to take the lead and more action,” he explained.

Highlighting recent developments, Dr Manoni mentioned the Pacific Leaders adoption of the 2050 strategy and the implementation plan in the Cook Islands.

“We look forward to the implementation of the 2050 strategy,” he said, signaling a commitment to tackling climate change and safeguarding the oceans through thoughtful and strategic initiatives.