Article by SPREP/Kathleen Leewai, Intern, SPREP
“We all worked hard in the last months to ensure that Rio+20 gave due recognition to ocean and coastal sustainability. But recognition is not enough. We need actions and we need strong commitments from all. We need a last push so that this summit really will be well remembered by future generations.” - Dr Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
|Pacific Oceanscape, a Pacific framework to protect, manage, maintain and sustain |
the cultural and natural integrity of the Pacific ocean
16 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - The Pacific is the world’s largest ocean, covering nearly one-third of the Earth’s surface, making it a strong feature of the Oceans Day in Rio de Janeiro today.
“Advancing Oceans, Coasts, and Island States at Rio+20 and Beyond,” is the theme of the all-day event that brings together high level government representatives, international organizations, NGO’s, industry and the science community to discuss a range of issues impacting our Oceans.
Tuiloma Neroni Slade, the Pacific Oceanscape Commissioner and Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat co-chaired today’s event along with Dr Biliana Cicin-Sain, President of the Global Ocean Forum and Dr Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.
“20 years ago in this place we sought a generational change and pledged solemnly a better future. Our determination now is for a future we want, a future of green growth in a blue world," said Tuiloma Slade at the opening.
"Let there be no illusion about it for these challenges are ones of global magnitude and complexity and deserve no less than global attention.
This is our purpose, this is the reason we are here."
The purpose of today’s event was to reflect on what has and has not been done to achieve ocean related sustainable development commitments and rekindle the political will to implement new and old commitments. It was also to showcase pledges for action and to consider the challenges and opportunities for implementing an Oceans package from the Rio+20.
For the Pacific region, applying a blue economy in a green world is a key message at UN Conference on Sustainable Development. With such a large ocean, it is home to many of the valuable resources of the region, with our economy based around the Pacific Ocean and its sea life. This was recognized by Tuiloma Slade:
“Nature, in her creation, has allotted our islands a vast Pacific ocean, and with it a huge responsibility. It is this ocean that provides Pacific community cultural and historical identity and debt. It is the source of abiding sustenance, though occasional we have overwhelmed unbidden with our destructive powers.”
A Rio Ocean Declaration will be produced at the end of the Oceans Day. This will be presented at the Sustainable Development Dialogues on Oceans which will present recommendations to the Rio+20 High-Level Ministerial Segment.
The challenge has been made to the World Leaders for a Rio+20 outcome that will save our Ocean, our Pacific heritage and identity. This was reiterated by Dr Wendy Watson-Wright today in a passionate plea that set the tone for Oceans Day at Rio+20.
“As the world will be watching heads of state endorse the Rio+20 outcome document it is not too late to remind nations that are gathering here in Rio that oceans protection is not just an environmental byword, it is also an economic and a social one, since as we know millions of jobs and industries such as tourism fisheries and others depend on a healthy ocean.
We all worked hard in the last months to ensure that Rio+20 gave due recognition to ocean and coastal sustainability. But recognition is not enough. We need actions and we need strong commitments from all. We need a last push so that this summit really will be well remembered by future generations.”
The Ocean’s Day had 9 different sessions with over 30 panelists. Along with Tuiloma Neroni Slade, other presenters from the Pacific region included Su’a N.F Tanielu, Director-General of the Forum Fisheries Agency, Mr. Luke Daunivalu, Deputy Permanent Representative Permanent Mission of Fiji to the United Nations and Dr. Russell Howorth, Director, Applied Geoscience and Technology Division, Secretariat of the Pacific Community.