News Item

Our Oceans, Our Future

News 8 Jun 2017

Over ninety-eight per cent of the Pacific region is ocean. Marine and coastal ecosystems help to provide Pacific people with food, water, medicines, energy, transport, climate regulation and oxygen production as well as cultural heritage and inspiration.

These natural marine living resources include mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds, coastal tidal marshes, seamount, thermal vents and cold-water corals.

The management, protection, conservation and restoring of marine and coastal ecosystems are some of the issues being discussed at the UN Oceans Conference in New York this week.

The Pacific joins the global community at the Oceans Conference to champion and progress Sustainable Development Goal 14: to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources.

The Pacific Community (SPC) which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, delivers technical assistance and scientific support to its Pacific Island country and territory (PICT) members through the application of ecosystem approaches, integrated coastal management, and marine protected areas (MPA).

Pacific Community Director-General Dr Colin Tukuitonga says SPC has been implementing projects that strengthen and sustain integrated coastal management (ICM) as the planning tool to increase the resilience of Pacific ecosystems and societies facing climate change and degradation of coastal and marine environments.

“Our sustainable coastal fisheries rely on Community-based Ecosystem Approaches to Fisheries Management (CEAFM) as per the ‘New Song’ strategy," Dr Tukuitonga says.

"This plan recognises that while unsustainable fishing is a key factor in the decline of coastal resources, the need to deal with other impacts on coastal ecosystems is evident, and must be managed as effectively as possible."

The Pacific is already a world leader in sustainable marine management and is doing more than its share with its managed areas and protected sanctuaries, and SPC maintains the Pacific Ocean Portal, a user friendly access point for the display of ocean information, maps and providing regional to country level information on sea surface and subsurface temperatures, waves and sea levels, Dr Tukuitonga adds.

The United Nations Oceans Conference is being co-chaired by the governments of Fiji and Sweden and will comprise of plenary meetings and partnership dialogues.

One of the outcomes from the Conference will be adoption of an inter-governmentally agreed "Call for Action" to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life Below Water (SDG14).

The Oceans Conference ends on June 9.

Visit SPC for more information.