Dire situation of ocean discussed in Noumea
23/07/2019 BY GEORGINA KEKEA
Barava FM, Solomon Islands
PEOPLE will no longer enjoy the benefits of the sea if nothing is done now to stop the destruction caused by humans.
This week a workshop on the ‘Pacific Decade for Ocean Science’ is underway in Noumea, New Caledonia, with a focus on the urgency on a global scale to protect the world’s oceans.
Overfishing, pollution and carbon emissions contribute most to the deterioration of the ocean.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Deputy Director General of the Pacific Community, Cameron Diver, said there is no doubt the ocean is absorbing more carbon dioxide.
He pointed to research showing 26 percent of the increased global carbon dioxide emissions being absorbed by the ocean. Diver said the reality faced by the Pacific has now become stark.
“We know major features of the ocean are changing sufficiently as a result of climate change and the flow on impact this has on our atmosphere is clear,” Mr. Diver said.
In 2016 a report on the World Ocean (World Ocean Assessment) found that much of the ocean is now seriously degraded, with changes and losses in the structure, function and benefits from marine systems.
In addition, the impact of multiple stressors on the ocean is projected to increase as the human population grows towards an expected 9 billion by 2050.
Scientific understanding of the ocean’s responses to pressures and management action is now said to be fundamental for sustainable development.
Based on the assessment, Mr. Diver said Pacific countries must build capacity to conduct and apply ocean science and accelerate the transfer of marine technology into the Pacific region.
“Without a knowledge-first approach our development will not be sustainable, and we will not be able to reverse the decline in ocean health,” Diver said.
He said the workshop is an opportunity to shape the Decade which the Pacific region wants and to ensure the needs of the region are articulated and incorporated into the planning phase of the Decade.
“This capacity building and the transfer of marine technology is not going to happen without you. It needs to be designed and it needs to be based on the needs of our region. Long-term and sustained resourcing and funding are crucial”.
The Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) is a declaration by the United Nations to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean.
The Pacific Community Workshop hopes to co-design mission-oriented research strategies in line with the 2030 Agenda and the Samoa Pathway, focusing on Small Island Developing States specific needs and priorities.
The weeklong event in Noumea provides a forum for ocean leaders, champions, key stakeholders to further discuss and prioritize the issues on the ocean and to identify concrete deliverables and partnerships to meet the Decade's objectives.
Georgina Kekea’s story has been developed as part of the Pacific Community Workshop on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. This was made possible through SPC’s Australian funded Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac). COSPPac works to help translate ocean science that is critical and relevant to the Pacific region to better inform evidence based decision making for our climate and oceans.