Fiji PM To Use Oceans Conference As Global Platform To Raise Pacific Voices

“Healthy oceans ...are the lifeblood of the planet" says Bainimarama 

By Arieta Vakasukawaqa

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, March 21, 2017) – Fiji will rally with its Pacific neighbours on the global platform to have their voices heard over the depletion of our oceans and seas due to pollution, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Mr Bainimarama was responding to a question posed by Government MP, Mataiasi Niumataiwalu in Parliament yesterday. He said Fijians relied on the ecosystem as a source of food and income.

Mr Niumataiwalu questioned how Fiji would highlight the issues on the global stage and its benefits.

Apart from Fiji, Mr Bainimarama said that other countries within the region also depended on a healthy ocean for their food.

“We can’t afford to take the back seat in the global campaign, to reverse that pollution, overfishing and increase marine traffic has done on our eco-system,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said Fiji lived with its consequences on a daily basis even though developed countries didn’t feel them.

“Every Fijian understands the need for urgent action to protect our oceans and value the global community to reverse the staggering degradation of our marine resources,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said even men have returned with nothing from their fishing trips as fish stocks have been depleted. He added coastal communities were experiencing the impact that bleaching had on coral reefs and it was a phenomenon that intensified to an unprecedented level last year.

As the former Fijian Navy Commander, Mr Bainimarama said he witnessed how plastics had accumulated in our seas and how the ocean had degraded by people who robbed marine resources.

He said small island developing nations were the ones suffering. For the first time, Fiji would co-host with Sweden the first ever United Nations conference on oceans in June.

“Healthy oceans and seas are the lifeblood of the planet we inherit,” Mr Bainimarama said.

Mr Bainimarama said they would push for a comprehensive review of the current states of our oceans and unfiltered truth revealed to the community of nations.

“As part of our missions of a cleaner Pacific we are also calling on those responsible to do what is necessary to address nuclear and other contentment, ship wrecks and other World War II relics in our oceans,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He said a global observing system needed to be put in place to improve ocean health.

[PIR editor's note: On March 21, 2017 RNZI reported that 'Fiji says it's crucial that members of the United Nations reach a consensus at this year's Ocean Conference, saying it could be a game-changer for the future of the Pacific. ... Sweden and Fiji are co-hosting the conference in June at the United Nations' Headquarters in New York. ... Fiji just held a regional meeting in Suva to prepare, which was attended by small island states, New Zealand and Australia.']

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

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