The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders yesterday renewed their commitment and reaffirmed the region’s solidarity in advancing climate action and ocean conservation.
This was confirmed 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, was led by Chair and Fiji Prime Minister Fran Bainimarama, the President of Palau, President Surangel Whipps Jr, and the Premier of Niue, Dalton Tagelagi.
The Chairman said that 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.” He said the Pacific Leaders regard 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
“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.”
Adding that the 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 and assured his support to the region in protecting our Blue Pacific Oceans and in strengthening our collective voice on the issues of climate and oceans.
Premier of Niue, Tagelagi commended the PIF’s Chairman for his strong leadership on climate and ocean issues.
“The talanoa sessions are an important platform to strengthen partnerships to have sustainable oceans for a resilient Blue Pacific region, as our life depends on the oceans.”
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 depend on it.
There was an 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 protect the health of the ocean.
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 toward ocean 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 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.