During the High Level Panel For A Sustainable Ocean Economy meeting at the UN General Assembly this morning, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka stated, “Fiji, a nation with a profound connection to the ocean, is honored to participate in a pivotal roundtable discussion at the United Nations General Assembly, addressing pressing questions concerning the future of our shared planet.”
Prime Minister Rabuka said Fiji’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding our invaluable oceans and pioneering ocean-based climate action underscores Fiji’s dedication to leading by example, for the benefit of present and future generations.
“Fiji’s primary focus for accelerating domestic ocean-based climate action in the near term centers around the robust implementation of its National Ocean Policy (NOP), which was adopted in 2017 and subsequently legislated in the Climate Change Act of 2021.”
The Prime Minister highlighted the groundbreaking nature of this policy, stating the policy emphasizes the critical importance of oceans in climate resilience and calls for a comprehensive review every five years.
“Fiji is committed to mainstreaming climate change considerations into ocean governance to protect coastal communities, enhance food security, and preserve marine ecosystems.”
Furthermore, the Prime Minister outlined Fiji’s ambitious goal, stating, “Fiji’s ambitious goal is to sustainably manage 100% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by 2030, designating 30% as Marine Protected Areas.”
This commitment was described as being built upon three pillars: “conservation and biodiversity protection, a blue economy for inclusive growth, and climate action and ocean governance.”
Notable initiatives supporting these pillars were also mentioned, including the Gender and Social Inclusion Policy, Sustainable Bond Framework, and the Blue Accelerator Grant Scheme.
The Prime Minister also highlighted Fiji’s active engagement in coral reef mapping, conflict resolution mechanisms, and pioneering concepts such as coral reef insurance.
In terms of collaboration, the Prime Minister emphasized, “Fiji recognizes the significance of domestic action and actively seeks collaboration with various stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of the National Ocean Policy.”
The Prime Minister expressed eagerness for further engagement with the Ocean Panel to maximize the efficiency and impact of its initiatives.
Addressing the Ocean Panel directly, the Prime Minister said; “The Ocean Panel is encouraged to leverage its influential high-level representation to mobilize substantial funding for ocean-centered initiatives, particularly in International Financial Institutions like the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility.”
Additionally, Fiji voiced support for the inclusion of larger Pacific oceanic states on the Ocean Panel.
Prime Minister Rabuka urged members of the Ocean Panel to unite with unwavering determination, declaring, “Together, nations can drive innovation, address pressing challenges, and leave a legacy of a thriving, resilient, and sustainable ocean for future generations.”