Looking to 2019: The Blue Pacific narrative will be key for our region

Noumea

The end of another year provides a good opportunity to reflect on our work and the development trends we have seen across the Pacific.

A unifying theme for 2018 could be ‘integration’.

At SPC, we have continued our internal prioritisation efforts and invested heavily in supporting cross-divisional and multi-disciplinary programs.

Regionally, we have seen increasing momentum towards integration across the Pacific, with the Samoa Pathway and Framework for Pacific Regionalism. This year, we have also seen Pacific leaders take huge strides to present our region not as a collection of fragmented small islands, but rather as united group of Large Ocean States.

The Blue Pacific narrative is the perfect example. This narrative highlights the importance of the Pacific taking ownership of its future. This narrative speaks to the unique challenges and distinct priorities of each island nation, while also emphasising the collective potential of the region’s shared stewardship of the Pacific Ocean; recognising our shared ocean identity, ocean geography, and ocean resources.

As the largest region on Earth, the Pacific plays an essential, if often underappreciated, role in the global ecosystem. With climate change finally being more widely recognised as an immediate and pressing priority, our region will quickly become a hub for international climate change research and a focus for debates around conservation and resource management. The Blue Pacific narrative will ensure our region has a leading, independent and united voice on these issues.   

Internationally, we are also seeing a movement towards greater integration. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), is an increasingly important driving force in global development efforts. Regionally, our Pacific members have embraced these goals as a way to guide and measure their work, and through the Blue Pacific narrative, we can ensure that we are working collaboratively to achieve these goals.

Not coincidentally, the organisational objectives of SPC and the SDGs are interconnected and complementary. The scope of our work touches on every single one of the SDGs, making us an irreplaceable partner in the region. Highlighting those connections, and their potential to strengthen SPC’s regional and international partnerships, will be an important part of our work in 2019 and beyond.

The Blue Pacific narrative provides the foundation for a strong and influential regional voice on the global stage, while the SDGs allow us to use this voice to highlight the innovative work done by our members. It’s a powerful combination, which SPC will fully embrace.  

As regional and international trends have changed over time, SPC has maintained its well-defined role in the development community for more than 70 years. We continue to be a leader in scientific research and technical innovations, and use our experience and knowledge of the Pacific to support our members’ development objectives. This ensures our region will be resilient in the face of future challenges, and that collectively and collaboratively, we can overcome shared issues.  

On behalf of everyone at SPC, I want to thank our members, partners, donors and friends from across the Pacific for your continued support over the past year. I am confident that in 2019, SPC will make further progress towards our ambitious organisational objectives, and continue to play a key role in advancing the development ambitions of the region, and further afield.

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Dr Colin Tukuitonga

Director-General (Noumea)