NATION

Fiji Hosts Preparatory Meeting

Fiji will host a high-level regional consultation to firm up a unified position for the United Nations Oceans Conference in June in New York. The meeting will have more than
13 Mar 2017 11:00
Fiji Hosts Preparatory Meeting
Hugh Govan speaks at the National Multi-stakeholder consultations on the Ocean Conference in Suva last week. Photo: DEPTFO News

Fiji will host a high-level regional consultation to firm up a unified position for the United Nations Oceans Conference in June in New York.

The meeting will have more than 300 participants from across the Pacific including Palau, Nauru, Marshall Islands, PNG, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Tokelau, Kiribati and French Polynesia, and the President of the UN General Assembly.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who has  led the charge on climate change and  the protection of  the world’s oceans, will co-chair the ocean conference with  Isabella Lovin, deputy prime minister of Sweden. In November he will preside over COP23 climate change summit in Bonn, Germany.

Mr Bainimarama said: “As a former naval commander, I have a particular personal interest in the health of our oceans and seas. I have been unfortunate enough to witness, at first hand, the decline in the health of the seas around Fiji over the years.

Whereas we once had waters teeming with fish, there is now clear evidence of overfishing, with all that entails for the welfare and prosperity of our coastal communities. Because, of course, not only do we rely on fish for food but it is also a major source of income for our people.”

Robin Nair, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs said this would be the first UN Conference on Oceans.

“It will provide political impetus for the much needed paradigm shift that the ocean desperately deserves,”  Mr Nair said.

A meeting on oceans from March 15-17 will be held at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva to consolidate the position of Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).

Fiji is collaborating with other PSIDS to present a strong and united case as custodians of the world’s last remaining healthy marine ocean resource – the Pacific Ocean.

The preparatory meeting will call for action on laws, policies (ocean policy), institutional arrangements, projects, partnership and voluntary commitments.

Governments will formulate a consensus declaration in the form of a ‘Call for Action’ to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, and Fiji will continue to take the lead in this before the June summit.

A series of preparatory meetings were held in Fiji last week, and the negotiations for the Call for Action will be finalised in May.

Fiji and Sweden will be co-hosting the United Nations Global Oceans Conference in New York from 5 to 9 June 2017.

Between now and the UN Ocean Conference in June, it is expected hundreds of actionable voluntary commitments will be registered to cover all targets for the implementation of  SDG 14.

 

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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