Submitted by admin on Fri, 06/09/2017 - 18:38
June 9, 2017 by admin
Island and Ocean Ecosystems
By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in New York

8 June 2017, UN Ocean Conference, New York - Fiji's Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama renewed his global call for action on oceans – with a particular call on Pacific Islanders to join the fight to save the seas and oceans.

"While we in the Pacific await this global response, we must do what we can ourselves. We must make a much greater effort to work together among ourselves to confront the challenge we collectively face.

He had a special message for Pacific Leaders – to lead by example.               

"I am very pleased that we have so many Pacific leaders at this session because much of this is a question of political will. At every stage we must use our influence as leaders - our mana - to push this agenda forward. And to marshal our people to do what they can to improve the management of our oceans.

He admitted that government cannot solve this crisis alone.

"We need ordinary men, women and children to make a personal commitment to join the fight to save our seas and oceans. And that means changing some of the things we do in the Pacific and adopting a more enlightened approach to ocean management.

                     Fiji copy copy

PM Bainimarama said there is no point to say that "something must be done" if we expect others to do it for us.

"There are some things that are beyond our ability to influence, like the greedy nations and greedy commercial interests that are stripping our ocean of the bounty that is rightfully ours. Invading our economic zones in the knowledge that we lack the means to adequately defend them.

"I said this week how much Fiji appreciates the assistance we are getting from the navies of New Zealand, Australia, the United States and France to defend our own economic zone. Their occasional deployments are an effective deterrent.

"The rest of the time, we are largely at the mercy of these invaders. And I would encourage all these friendly nations who understand the importance of this to consider doing a lot more to enable us to be better protected.

On a personal note, the Fijian leader and co-chair of the inaugural UN Oceans conference called on citizens of Fiji to stop 'rubbishing' their environment.

"We can blame the bigger countries around the Pacific Rim as much as we like – and God knows they need to clean up their act. But we also need to clean up ours."

He was addressing a high level side event at the UN Oceans conference in New York organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) – M.Komai/SPREP