Sunday, 17 June 2012

Oceans Special 2: Sustainable development for Pacific Oceans

Mr Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon Islands

 FFA Director General Su’a Tanielu
17 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - The head of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) says the interests of Pacific Small Islands Developing Countries, especially in Oceans must be represented in the outcomes of the Rio+20.

Rio+20 host Brazil is leading consultations to finalise an outcomes document on sustainable development and the environment, which world leaders will consider next week.

With the Western Pacific Ocean providing half of the global catch of tuna, at 2 million tonnes per year, FFA Director General Su’a Tanielu says oceans conservation is vital for the future of Pacific Island countries.

“Our message is that the interests of Small Islands Developing States, especially Pacific Island countries, must be taken into serious consideration.”

Speaking at the Oceans Day side event at Rio+20, Mr Tanielu says the following principles of sustainable development must be included in the outcomes document;

(i) Ensure that all fisheries policies are based on and informed by good science and with relevance and recognition of SIDS special requirements and development aspirations including SIDS participation in fisheries in ABNJs;

(ii) Maximisation of economic benefits and values of fisheries incl. promotion of sustainable investment and transfer of technology to SIDS interests;

(iii) Ensure global and regional high level decisions do not necessary result in transferring, directly or indirectly, a disproportionate burden of conservation actions onto SIDS and LDCs;

(iv) Continuous efforts to develop and implement robust Monitoring, Control and Surveillance regimes to reduce economic opportunities lost due to Illegal Unregulated and Unreported activities; and

(v) Well-defined role of SIDS in the development and implementation of international fisheries and fisheries related instruments including those of UNCLOS, UNFSA, FAO Code of Conduct for responsible fisheries, FAO International Plan of Actions and Technical Guidelines, and the propose implementing agreement under UNCLOS for areas beyond national jurisdictions.

As consultations on the text of the Rio+20 outcomes document continues, Mr Tanielu says the early signs show that countries have been receptive to the ideas of ocean conservation and fisheries management.

The same sentiments were shared by Sefanaia Nawardra, the Director of Environmental Monitoring and Governance at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Mr Nawadra says Oceans have proven to be less contentious than other issues on the negotiation table.

The theme of the Oceans Day side event is “Advancing Oceans, Coast and Island States at Rio+20 and Beyond.”

Pacific Islands countries, high level government representatives, international organizations, NGO’s, industry and the science community took part in the daylong event to discuss a range of issues affecting Oceans.

The Director General of the FFA says Oceans play a big part in the lives of Pacific Islanders, not only through economic returns through fisheries but also through culture.

“For some small developing countries it is an integral part of their culture and livelihood. Fisheries resources offer a lifeline to many coastal and island communities. We all have responsibility to preserve these resources not only for vulnerable communities but also for generations to come.”

Mr. Tanielu says in terms of oceans conservation and fisheries management, Pacific Island countries are leading the way.

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