Former Miss Hibiscus Joins Our Ocean Team

Alisi Rabukawaqa Nacewa, a passionate environmentalist and former Miss South Pacific and Miss Hibiscus, will be a youth and civil society group representative at the United Nations Ocean Conference from
01 Jun 2017 11:00
Former Miss Hibiscus Joins Our Ocean Team
Alisi with the Fiji team at the Coral Reef Alliance Conservation Awards in California, USA. Photo: Alisi Rabukawaqa Nacewa

Alisi Rabukawaqa Nacewa, a passionate environmentalist and former Miss South Pacific and Miss Hibiscus, will be a youth and civil society group representative at the United Nations Ocean Conference from June 5 to 9.

She will be part of the Fijian delegation that will be out in numbers to support Fiji’s co-hosting of the conference.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will co-preside over the conference with Sweden.

The following is a Q n A with Ms Nacewa


  1. What role will you play at the Conference?

Well, my participation came about through nominations for representatives to the Fijian Government delegation by Civil Society Organisations.

So in the last few months leading up to the conference, as CSO representatives, we have been participating enthusiastically in the consultations around Fiji’s Ocean Policy framework, contributing towards our voluntary commitments to achieving SDG14 and attending will be to continue to advocate on issues that are pertinent to youths, women, indigenous peoples.

I am also the Fiji Programme Co-ordinator for Coral Reef Alliance, an NGO that works with local communities to save coral reefs. So I am also blessed to work in an area that aligns my passion with my professional work.


  1. How important is the youth involvement in the Conference?

For many reasons, and I feel at the top of that list is continuity and sustainability.

The great work being done right now can only be effective if there is continued youth involvement, for young people will take the helm one day and they need to be a part of these processes to understand the nuances of the work that has been done so far and ensure that we continue to steer in the right direction and make decisions that will ensure the sustainable use of our ocean resources.

I also work with women’s groups such as DIVA for Equality and the Pacific Partnerships on Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (PPGCCSD) as it is important that gender justice issues and human rights is part of the discussion on oceans, and on climate change.


  1. What do you hope to achieve out of this Conference?

What I hope to achieve from the conference may be out of my control, but the one thing I would share is that I honestly hope to be an example for other young people in Fiji on the importance as well as opportunities that being a part of these spaces as youths provide.

Although, I do hope that we can have a complete ban on plastic bags and straws in Fiji.  For example, the Urgent Action Hub for Climate Justice, is launching a campaign to ban single-use plastic on Oceans Day.

These are young people from Fiji and the Pacific small island states. Please everyone, support the campaign and contact Maria Nailevu of DIVA for Equality to know more on this work by Pacific young people and women.


  1. What more can youths do to help meet the SDG14?

There was an article published late last year about a young man from Mumbai who started cleaning up his local beach every weekend for a year because it was completely littered with rubbish and the local municipality didn’t prioritise it as it wasn’t often visited.

In the months that followed, his efforts created a huge movement and they managed to clear hundreds of tons of plastics and other debris.

There are many lessons that can be taken away from what this young man did. If there is one thing youth can do based on his story, it is to MOBILISE! And make waves.

You don’t have to look far, see what you can do in your own home, community or town. Youths have so much energy and if focused and directed, they can achieve so much.

Just to complete the story, the young man was later awarded the UN Champion of the Earth award.


  1. What do you think about the role Fiji is playing in the Conference?

Challenging.  Exciting. Inspiring. We are co-hosting the first ever UN World Oceans Conference and that is an opportunity for not only Fiji but for all Small Island Developing States.  It is an opportunity to draw attention to the unique circumstances for Pacific Island Countries.


  1. What more can individuals do to meet the commitments under SDG14?

The simplest one that we have all learned growing up; the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

The concept has been around for decades but we can see for ourselves how difficult it may be to do.  So working towards making a more conscious effort to practise this is what we can do as individuals.


  1. Any words on Fiji’s decision to involve youth representative as part of their delegation?

It is very encouraging to see that Fiji has been doing this and I would like to commend them for allowing youth engagement in this process and it is so important in terms of gaining experience in participating in these international spaces.


  1. Any further comments?

For CSO representatives, we need to seek our own funding to attend and on that note I would like to thank the following partners – Coral Reef Alliance, Bua Urban Youth Network, and DIVA for Equality Fiji as the Women’s Major Group PSIDS Organising Partner for their ongoing advocacy for more young people and women to be included, and for funding and support.




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