February 2, 2023

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Unity is critical to achieve Blue Pacific

Ocean sustainability is critical to the Pacific’s development and regional leaders need a unified voice to echo our concern for ocean preservation.

Opening the Blue Pacific Leader’s Ocean panel tonight, Pacific Island Forum Chair Voreqe Bainimarama says the region, together, can leverage far greater accountability from the rest of the world.

The Forum Chair adds that Fiji and the Marshall Islands have co-chaired the Pacific Blue Shipping partnership that has been resurrected post-pandemic.

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“The partnership demands a transition and transformation of our domestic and regional shipping. As a united Pacific, we not only have the responsibility but also the capability to establish a blue Pacific wall of protected ocean.”

Palau President Surangel Whipps also shared the Pacific vision for deep-sea mining, adding that such activity has no place in a sustainable blue economy.

Whipps highlighted the urgency for the region to take ownership of its oceans if leaders want to leave behind a blue Pacific for the future generation.

“We need to come together as the Pacific and lead by saying that we know by protecting leads to spillover, leads to a more resilient and healthy ocean and that we can ask the world to also do the same. We can then all balance production and hopefully fish less, earn more and make sure that it will benefit our people for generations to come.”

Protecting our ocean is central to the 51st Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting, and discussion on the Blue Pacific tonight is part of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, a significant document that will be launched on Thursday.

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Meanwhile, Fiji and the Solomon Islands also signed an agreement concerning maritime boundaries.

The signing of the agreement has been described as a milestone made possible by the dedication of both countries to see through the mapping, legal drafting, and diplomatic negotiations required to formally establish the boundaries.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare remarked that the signing is a momentous one for them as the agreement embraces people’s connection to the ocean.