CSOs discuss preparatory work on lead up to June UN Oceans conference.
The meeting, organized by Fiji’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a first ever forum on ocean issues which was deliberated from a national context and brought together government, civil society organizations and the private sector to deliberate on important issues in working towards a unified commitment to addressing problems facing our ocean.
While delivering his opening address, the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ravindran Nair placed special emphasis on the unrelenting degradation of the ocean, which is a matter of grave concern and the need for the private and civil society organizations to work together.
“We have been taking more resources from the marine environment than it can sustainably provide us, and through marine pollution and debris, illegal and destructive fishing practices and the man-made effects of climate change, we are severely testing the ability of the oceans and seas to maintain significant life for generations to come,” Ambassador Nair said.
WWF-Representative Kesaia Tabunakawai said the consultation was crucial to ensuring the integrity of the delivery of SDG 14(Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) and the need for government, cso’s and the private sector to work together to address the issues of unsustainability from localized unsustainable land use practices, unsustainable fishing practices to issues Pacific wide in addition to climate change.
“Coming together to share and pool technical information, local knowledge, experience, wisdom and other resources, as representatives of organizations has been worthwhile, as we recognise and acknowledge, that we are first and foremost citizens of the ocean state of Fiji,”
“The group had been meeting two weeks earlier to get to know each other, to discuss the state of our ocean resource, identify gaps and work out priority texts for the matrix of indicators,”Tabunakawai said.
The outcomes of the two day multi-national stakeholder consultations will help the Ministry of Foreign Affairs form the basis of national perspectives on issues relating to oceans for next week’s Regional discussion at the Ocean Conference Pacific Regional Preparatory meeting from March 15th -17 at the Grand Pacific Hotel.