Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Dr Filimon Manoni has highlighted the significance of the OACPS as a vital partner for Pacific countries, stressing the importance of effective implementation of the Samoa Agreement.

He emphasised the critical global issues facing the Pacific region: climate change and the ocean.

“The Samoa Agreement and the Pacific Protocol underscore common interests and priorities with our region, particularly the importance of ocean governance in maintaining the health and resilience of our oceans.

“Climate change was not merely a threat but an existential crisis, while the ocean was described as the lifeblood of Pacific Islanders,” he said in a statement at the Consecutive Meeting of the Pacific- EU Regional Parliamentarian Assembly in Luanda, Angola,
Dr Manoni stressed the interconnectedness between Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the ocean, noting the elevation of ocean importance in sustainable development agendas.

The Pacific’s active participation in law of the sea processes, including the BBNJ agreement, showcased the region’s commitment to ocean conservation. Despite effective tuna stock management, Dr Manoni expressed concern over the exclusion of ocean elements in the fourth SIDS Conference’s draft outcome, urging action.

He emphasised the common interests outlined in the Samoa Agreement and the Pacific Protocol, particularly in ocean governance.

The recent adoption of the 2050 strategy for the Blue Pacific further highlighted the region’s dedication to collective ocean actions.

However, Dr Manoni expressed growing concerns over the exploitation rather than the respectful care of the ocean. While supporting economic development and technological advancements, he stressed the need for mindful practices to protect ocean resources.

“While I support developing our capacities to be active participants in the ocean space, we must be mindful of the consequences of unchecked activities that harm our ocean. We have a legal and moral duty to protect and respect our ocean and its resources,” he said.

Drawing inspiration from ancestral wisdom, Dr Manoni proposed collaborative efforts to advocate for ocean protection treaties, end plastic pollution, and ratify fisheries agreements.

He called for prioritising the ocean in agendas and funding allocations, emphasising the importance of cross-sector collaboration guided by both traditional values and scientific knowledge.

Despite challenges, Dr Manoni remained optimistic, urging collective action to ensure the health, productivity, and resilience of the ocean.