Pacific to lobby together to ensure the region utilise the science 'we need for the ocean we want: Vanuatu
By Pita Ligaiula in Noumea
Vanuatu has called on Pacific nations to lobby together to ensure that the region utilise the science ‘we need effectively for the ocean we want’.
Head of Vanuatu Maritime and Ocean Affairs division, Toney Tevi said the meeting this week is a fantastic opportunity for them to take a coordinated and collective approach to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14 on oceans.
“Vanuatu is leading the region by understanding the use of critical ocean science, data and information because we realise that without solution oriented ocean science our national ocean policy will be weak.
“I am pleased to share that last week we have set up a dedicated office for our team. The implementation of SDG14, the work we are doing in Vanuatu requires ocean science.
“We cannot work alone to achieve goals set out in our national ocean policy or SDGs. We are grateful to the support received from regional development agencies. We are fortunate to have technical support and advice from The Pacific Community (SPC) as they are the technical hub for science in the region,” Tevi told delegates at the Pacific Community workshop on UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in Noumea.
He explained Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science or PCCOS has been established by SPC to ensure the Pacific are able to access ocean science data and information.
“The PCCOS work started in Port Vila through the first PCCOS multi sectoral training on Ocean Science as part of our Ocean Policy implementation. We brought together Fisheries, Geoscience, Meteorology, Agriculture, Planning, NGOs and Private sector maritime players to boldly start our journey to manage our ocean together.
“This has helped us forge new partnerships and implement our Ocean Policy in tandem with other countries who are developing their policies now or have them already, like my wantoks in the Solomon Islands and soon Papua New Guinea,” he said.
Tevi explained the societal outcomes specified for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 are timely and a good push towards bringing ocean science and literacy to the forefront of the work they do.
“We must use this opportunity to ensure our messages are clear and strong. We are Pacific people and our ocean sustains us. We can ensure that this continues for our future generations by effectively utilising ocean science.
“Whether it be to keep our ocean clean and free of plastics and micro plastics affecting our marine resources to understanding the impacts of climate change, ocean warming affecting our fisheries,” he said.
Tevi said another example is implementing the provisions under UNCLOS and to establish their maritime boundaries as a matter of priority so as to secure jurisdictional rights and exercise our responsibilities.
“We must lobby together to ensure that we utilise the science we need effectively for the ocean we want.
The Pacific region is large, connected and strategically important. We would not have reached this far had it not been for your contributions,” said Tevi.
Pita Ligaiula’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.