By Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon Islands
21 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - The Alliance of Small Islands States is calling for strong political will to back the progress made in commitment for oceans conservation and protection at Rio+20.
Political will must now match the progress made in getting commitments, said AOSIS's Sustainable Development Director, Margo Deiye at a Pacific Small Islands Developing States and Earthjustice side event.
“Rio must just be the beginning. Commitments made here after all are just words on paper until they are implemented.”
She said it was imperative that countries leave the talks with renewed political will to implement longstanding commitments to restore and protect coastal habitats and marine environments.
Oceans, she said are vital for sustainable development especially for countries in the Pacific.
"We can’t develop if we don’t have food to eat, water to drink, or land to build on."
In a statement the chair of AOSIS, Ambassador Marlene Moses, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations from Nauru said there were gains for SIDS in the outcome document.
“The agreement to convene the Third International Conference for the Sustainable Development of SIDS in 2014 is an important outcome and it will provide a crucial opportunity to highlight the existential threat many small islands face from sea level rise, as well as the devastating effects ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and other climate change impacts. The Pacific looks forward to hosting this meeting.
“Heartening progress has also been made in Rio on fisheries conservation. For many islands, fisheries are fundamental to our national economies and are an essential source of protein for our diets.
“The new commitment to identify strategies that further assist SIDS in developing the capacity to sustainably manage and realize the benefits of sustainable fisheries have the potential to revitalize many national economies.
Ambassador Moses said ocean acidification is an international crisis and countries must work together to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions and work collectively to build the resilience of marine ecosystems and of the communities whose livelihoods depend on them.