Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, 51st Session Of The Executive Council – 3-6 July 2018 Paris, France


Address By Cameron Diver
Deputy Director-General Of The Pacific Community
On The Un Decade Of Ocean Science For Sustainable Development


Honourable Chairman, Executive Secretary, Colleagues,

Greetings from the Pacific Community and our 26 Member States and Territories of which 22 are Pacific islands.

The countries of Oceania represent 20% of the planet’s exclusive economic zones. However, we have limited data about the ocean and limited skill in applying what ocean data we have. The Pacific Community’s island Members are among those leading a push to “know your ocean” and advocating for improved ocean intelligence. In response to this need, the Pacific Community is focusing energy and resources on providing more ocean data, better communicating ocean science to inform decision-making at international, regional and country level, and using ocean science to contribute directly to resilient and sustainable development in the Pacific.

The Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape was endorsed by Pacific Leaders in 2010 and the overarching goal is to “to protect, manage and sustain the cultural and natural integrity of the ocean for present and future generations and for the broader global community”. And for this we need ocean science.

I am proud to say that the Pacific Community is home to many of the Pacific region’s most robust ocean science research and technical support teams. These include our Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries Programmes, our Ocean and Maritime Programme, our Maritime Boundaries programme, our new Pacific Ocean Portal, which we launched on World Oceans Day this year, and our Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science (PCCOS). Through our expertise and capacity and in partnership with other agencies like the IOC, the Pacific Community stands ready to help design, implement and take action in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and SDG 14.

Colleagues, as we look toward the Decade, I would encourage you to think of Oceania not as “islands in a far sea” but rather as “a sea of islands”, and to remember the words of the celebrated Tongan/Fijian author Epeli Hau’ofa:

Oceania is vast, Oceania is expanding, Oceania is hospitable and generous, Oceania is humanity rising from the depths of brine and regions of fire deeper still, Oceania is us. We are the sea, we are the ocean, we must wake up to this ancient truth”.

And that ancient truth, ladies and gentlemen, could be a vision that we collectively own, protect and promote through the Decade: “the sea is our pathway to each other and to everyone else, the sea is our endless saga, the sea is our most powerful metaphor, the ocean is in us”.

Thank you for your attention.