By Ms. Kathleen Leewai, SPREP
|Alfred Ralifo, WWF, South Pacific Programme interviewed by SPREP's Kathleen Leewai|
14 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - A policy officer for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Pacific Programme is travelling with the Fiji delegation to Brazil for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
Mr. Alfred Ralifo is providing support to the delegation during the negotiations to strengthen Fiji’s policy positions.
“The good thing about this is that most of our positions are based on experiences from the WWF Office in Suva, in terms of our field work, so the advice is relevant and complements the Fiji government’s position,” says Ralifo.
“Mostly we’re working on motions for the zero draft to try to make it more applicable for Fiji’s position, as well as the positions for other small island developing states.”
In line with the message from other Pacific nations, Fiji is bringing the issue of oceans to the table, and Ralifo is advocating the ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change approach as a tool for sustainable development and management of marine resources in the Pacific region.
Oceans, and oceans management, is a vital issue for the Pacific Island nations attending Rio+20 due to the role oceans play in the economy.
Commenting on this, the Director of the Environmental Monitoring and Governance Division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Mr. Sefanaia Nawadra said, “We are small island countries, or sometimes we refer to ourselves as large ocean states, with our main resource or asset being the ocean and the economies that we can derive from it.”
To this end, Pacific countries are advocating stronger recognition of oceans issues at the Conference, with the hope that this will be reflected in the outcomes document.