APIA, 02 MARCH 2017 (SPREP) — Home to more than 10 per cent of the planet’s oceans, the Pacific Islands are uniting to help shape global ocean management as defined at the UN Ocean Conference in June this year.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) through its Pacific sub-regional office are partnering to implement several initiatives to support Pacific island countries as they prepare for the UN Ocean Conference.


Co-hosted by the Governments of Fiji and Sweden, the UN Ocean Conference will be held in New York from 5 to 7 June this year. The historic event hopes to rally global action to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life below Water.

“This occasion is monumental in several ways. Not only is it a coming together of all global players to help protect our vital ocean resources, but we are also seeing a valuable member of our Pacific family playing a pivotal role in uniting all under this ‘Call for Action’ to conserve our ocean and her resources,” said Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP.

“We are very proud of Fiji and are pleased to work with the Pacific UN Environment Office to contribute to the regional preparations for this important conference. We’ll be responding to Pacific delegate’s needs for environmental information, with the goal of creating a strong, visible Pacific perspective for sustainable use, protection and conservation of the global ocean.”

‘Partnerships’ is a vital theme of the conference, with the opening of The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments listing initiatives to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14. The Registry will remain open for commitments until 9 June this year, after which they will become part of The Call for Action, the global declaration to help Life Below Water.

“A primary goal for the UN Ocean Conference is continuing to build strong partnerships for sustainable development and conservation,” said Sefanaia Nawadra, Head of UN Environment’s Pacific Sub Regional Office.

“One of the key roles of our office is to ensure that knowledge of Pacific concerns is raised with global networks, programmes and initiatives and that the Pacific’s regional efforts link well with what is being done globally.”

SPREP and UN Environment are one of a number of strategic Pacific partnerships helping to strengthen the knowledge base for Pacific island delegates and communities as they prepare for the UN Oceans Conference. The materials prepared by this partnership have been sent to delegates, with a public launch of information coming soon.

Pacific voices have already been heard at the global preparatory conference in New York in February. They will grow stronger again at the Pacific regional preparatory conference in Fiji in March as the Pacific-wide team works together to support Pacific island countries and territories input into the Call for Action… PACNEWS [/restrict]