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Nauruan Leader: We Are Big Ocean States

Small Island Developing States are now the Big Ocean States, says President of Nauru Baron Waqa. “Given that our region is 98.5 per cent ocean, it is not surprising that
09 Jun 2017 10:59
Nauruan Leader: We  Are Big Ocean States
From left: Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Nauruan president Baron Waqa, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi and Tuvaluan Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga in New York on June 7, 2017. Photo: Jyoti Pratibha

Small Island Developing States are now the Big Ocean States, says President of Nauru Baron Waqa.

“Given that our region is 98.5 per cent ocean, it is not surprising that the ocean is the very heart of our shared identity as the Pacific Small Island Developing States. It serves as the foundation of our societies, our economies, and our environment,” Mr Waqa said.

“And we are committed to showing the stewardship which comes with being the BOS.

“The Ocean Conference presents a powerful opportunity to turn the tide on the degradation of the ocean and ensure its long term sustainability,” he said.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun on the margins of the Ocean Conference currently underway at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Mr Waqa stressed the need to work for the Ocean.

“In a small Pacific Island Country, there are fewer pathways to sustainable development.

“We do not have a large labour force or abundant natural resources that appeal to private investors. Nor do we enjoy strategic access to major markets or fast internet connectivity that might spawn a generation of entrepreneurs.

“Lacking these things, we struggle even to mobilise the resources necessary for basic education and health care.

“This is why Small Island Developing States are recognised in numerous international agreements as a special case for sustainable development.

“However, we do have one important pathway to sustainable development, and that is the Ocean. The Pacific Small Island Developing States are the stewards of the largest Ocean.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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