Greening Melanesia’s Economy
Presented by the Minister for Lands, Mineral Resources and Environment, Colonel Samuela Saumatua, the government delegates were challenged as a part of Melanesia to take the lead in changing the way the world does business.
Quoting from the WWF’s Living Planet Report, Colonel Saumatua stressed; “if we were to keep with the same lifestyle, the equivalent of two earths will be required to support our standard of living.”
“Melanesia is part of the Asia/Pacific region which is one of the most biodiversity rich regions in the world, he added. “It includes the Coral Triangle, the world epicenter for marine biodiversity and is as significant as the Amazon and Congo basins in terms of terrestrial biodiversity. It is also rich in valuable minerals such as gold, copper and natural gas.”
“This includes Improving coordination and implementation of national nature conservation strategies such as National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (NBSAP) Implementation framework for 2010 to 2014 to our knowledge the first to be launched in the Pacific.
“Fiji has also adopted a Greening Cities and Towns concept to ensure environment policies are mainstreamed into town planning and development. This includes promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, building community resilience to climate change impacts and proper waste management.”
Furthermore, the Minister gave an example of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) as a platform to achieve regional collaboration.
“Let us work with our Pacific and Asian Neighbours to form a partnership with other countries that share the Pacific Ocean to deal with the threats including overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and climate change – All these threats require a new level of partnership and engagement if we are to leave a healthy and productive ocean for our children.”
The green economy concept was raised at a side luncheon to MSG foreign affairs Ministers and observers that was a co-hosted by the Department of Environment, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the WWF South Pacific.