Shining our spotlight on our Pacific People that work for our Pacific environment is this Q and A series from your Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
Meet Dr Pete Davies, the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Adviser at SPREP. He provides technical support to our Members for anything on coastal ecosystems and ocean issues.
This could provide a review of the national ocean strategies of Members, provide advice on emerging issues, helping to design projects, and find funding for work that members want to do to conserve and protect their coastal and marine ecosystems.
Pete also helps with linking in scientific specialists from around the world when needed.
“I also provide advice on these issues to other programmes in SPREP as well as in regional forums such as Pacific Islands Forum where countries are working together to develop the 2050 strategy for the Blue Pacific as requested by Pacific Leaders,” says Pete.
He shares some of his experiences with us.
Q. What do you feel has been your greatest achievement in this role?
“Well, I haven’t quite achieved it yet, but we are very close to finalising the Pacific Coral Reef Action Plan.
This plan will support members to manage coral reefs in their countries by finding ways that regional cooperation can lead to the best results. Preserving coral reefs is absolutely key to the sustainable future of the oceans and the Pacific is home to around a quarter of the world’s corals.”
Q. What is one of the best things you like about your job?
“For me, working on ocean conservation is a vocation. For as long as I remember I have lived near or on the ocean. I am fortunate to have spent the better part of 30 years learning about coasts and the sea from a science perspective to add to my daily observations of the sea while sailing, surfing or just watching it.
Hopefully, I can put that to use for the future of the planet.
“Working for Pacific island countries is great because I hear people from Prime Ministers and Presidents through to the youth activists all speaking from the heart about their love of the ocean and the deep cultural connection to the sea and the need to nurture mother ocean so she can keep providing for us.
I feel like the people in the Pacific islands really understand the issues and genuinely want action.”
Q. Tell us about some of your work with our Pacific island Members?
“I have loved going to the UN and helping Pacific Island representatives with technical advice during the negotiations on the International legally binding instrument on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction.
This treaty will fill some important gaps in the Law of the Sea, so it is vital that the Pacific voice is heard in these international forums and that the interests of small island developing states are represented.
It’s been great to see the Pacific Island people at work in that place.”
Q. If you could share one piece of advice that you have learnt from your work, what would it be?
“Choose your work in something that you are passionate about and follow that instinct. If you love what you do, that gets you through the tough times when the hours are long, and the problems seem insurmountable.
There are solutions and every bit you do makes some difference. If you want to work in ocean conservation don’t be afraid to seek out opportunities to volunteer or join your local conservation groups to gain experience to launch your career.”
To get in touch with Pete on his work, please email [email protected]