29 June 2022, Lisbon, Portugal, UNOC2022 - Demonstrating Ocean leadership, Solomon Islands have taken great strides toward Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water.
Solution-based thinking has propelled Solomon Islands forward, taking action to protect its ocean. In 2017 during the First UN Ocean Conference in New York, the first voluntary commitment was to develop an Integrated National Ocean Policy and Marine Spatial Plan.
The Solomon Islands National Ocean Policy was launched on 25 November 2019 containing 11 aspects to implement and carries the vision of the Government and the people of Solomon Islands to “achieve a healthy, resilient, secure and productive ocean that supports sustainable use and development for the benefit of the people of Solomon Islands now and into the future”.
“We are a nation of islands. The ocean defines who we are as people and nation. It is a key pillar of our development and the foundation of our future. In this connection, the health of our ocean is crucial to the wellbeing of our people and planet, and all forms of life below and above water,” presented Hon. Jeremiah Manele, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands as he took to the global stage at the Second UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal this week.
“Solutions must help us thrive wherever we live, in the villages or cities. Culture, education and livelihoods will underpin the continued guardianship we island peoples practise over our oceans. We can protect these precious spaces for the world if we are entrusted with the tools and resources to do so.”
The UNOC2022 is from 27 June to 1 July. The overarching theme of the Conference is "Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions".
Solomon Islands have worked to ensure communities are on the frontlines of ocean governance.
Between 2019 and 2021 Solomon Islands underwent nationwide consultations and are now in the process of finalising a Marine Spatial Plan. This will guide a legal framework or ocean law to oversee the governance and management of its ocean space. The conservation target is to achieve 15% of Marine Protected Areas and Locally Marine Managed Areas in alignment with its national target and that of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“The Solomon Islands Government has also made voluntary commitments to strengthen Community Based Resource Management (CBRM) initiatives to contribute to fulfilling SDG 14. Solomon Islands launched its 10-year National Fisheries Policy in 2019 which provides the basis for a Solomon Islands CBRM strategy, 2021 – 2025,” said Minister Manele.
“This strategy outlines a concerted set of activities to scale up CBRM support to more communities across the Solomon Islands as well as improve the quality of CBRM support provided to communities through the development of key national-level systems and increased capacity and involvement of Provincial authorities.”
Solomon Islands are ready to sign the Maritime Boundary Treaty in the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit this year in July. Of the five overlapping and shared Maritime Boundaries, the only one yet to be signed is with Fiji.
“Given the climate change crisis and the impacts of Climate Change related Sea Level Rise on maritime zones and boundaries entitlements, a side letter will also be signed by Prime Ministers from both countries. This side letter contains the stability clause that aligns with Pacific Islands Forum Leader Declaration on preserving maritime zones and boundaries in the event of climate change-related sea-level rise,” he said.
Solomon Islands are expanding their work for ocean health with new and additional voluntary commitments to be made at the second UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal this week. Adding further to those made in 2017.
By 2025 a legal framework for ocean legislation and Commissioner will be in place.
Solomon Islands will contribute to the 30 x 30 ocean target of the Biodiversity Framework by further strengthening its indigenous guardianship and our national network of locally managed and protected areas.
Committed to reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Solomon Islands will do so from international and domestic ships and ports. It will support the finalisation, adoption and entry into force of the international, legally binding instrument such as the Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. The island nation also commits to supporting the finalisation and adoption of a legally binding instrument on marine plastic pollution.
“The implementation of 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goal 14 requires and needs meaningful and inclusive collaboration and partnership across sectors and stakeholders. Achieving a healthy, resilient and productive ocean needs global solutions translated into local actions,” stated Minister Manele.
“The world needs to take urgent and firm actions including the availing of dedicated financial resources and technologies to island countries to sustainably conserve, use and protect ocean resources to meet the needs of our present and future generations.”
Hon Jeremiah Manele, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands presented its high-level statement at the UN Ocean Conference on 28 June, 2022.
The UNOC2022 is hosted in Lisbon, Portugal from 26 June to 1 July 2022. The Pacific Islands are represented by a strong contingent which includes the Leaders from Fiji, Palau and Tonga. Also present are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) will provide more Pacific news from the UNOC2022.
For more on the UN Ocean Conference 2022 hosted in Lisbon, Portugal from 27 June to 1 July please visit https://www.un.org/en/conferences/ocean2022