Sunday, 17 June 2012

Solidarity and a strong Pacific voice for oceans, 16 June 2012

From Fiji to Papua New Guinea to Samoa then on to Rio! Ms. Kathleen Leewai, the Publications and Communications Intern at SPREP is attending her first international environment conference - the Rio+20, this has been made possible with support from PACMAS, SPREP and Conservation International Pacific Island Program. Born and raised in Fiji, Kathleen has lived in Papua New Guinea, Australia and now in Samoa at SPREP where she works as the Publications and Communications Intern. This is Kathleens first time outside of the Pacific region, read about her experiences!

"Day 6 in Rio was slated for a full day side event; Oceans Day at Rio+20, organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands and their partners.

It was an intense day, immersing myself in the oceans issues brought to the conference by countries and NGOs. The issues for oceans ranged from oceans acidification and climate change effects to sustainable livelihoods and food security in the fisheries sector.

The sessions ran as panels with short presentations from a number of distinguished speakers, including the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Mr. Tuiloma Neroni Slade, who is also the newly appointed Pacific Oceanscape Commissioner and who chaired a number of the sessions.

I watched with pride as delegates from the Pacific Islands spoke clearly and simply of the challenges faced by the nations in the region and the steps we are taking to have these issues acknowledged by world leaders in Rio.

As I left the side event this evening following the presentation of the Global Ocean Forum’s declaration to the coordinators for Rio+20, I recalled a line that was repeated several times by speakers from the Pacific; “we are not just small island states, rather we are large ocean nations”. "

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