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Stakeholders Discuss UN Ocean Conference Preparations

New York
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Minister for Fisheries and Fiji’s Oceans Champion, Hon. Semi Koroilavesau has called on all stakeholders to work together to address the multi-faceted and multi-layered challenges facing the ocean.

Minister Koroilavesau was speaking at the opening of the second National Multi-stakeholder Consultations on Oceans Conference in Suva today.

He said Fiji’s responsibility as co-president of the UN Ocean Conference next month is crucial to the region as calls are made to developed nations to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds.

Minister Koroilavesau said the inaugural global conference will be a game-changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our ocean for people, planet and prosperity.

“We are reminded of the importance of oceans to our beloved Fiji. A nation with more than 50 per cent of its total population that live along the coast, heavily dependent on subsistence fishing; whose fisheries and aquaculture contribute to more than 136 million towards GDP, while at the same time are also losing out on more than 2 per cent of its coral reefs per year,” Minister Koroilavesau said.

“Scientists have revealed that an opportunity has presented itself through SDG14 and the Ocean Conference. We cannot afford to miss out on this opportunity as the Ocean Conference may just be our best chance to save the ocean.”

The minister highlighted Fiji’s voluntary commitments and the formulation of the National Oceans Policy Framework ahead of the global conference.

“Now is the time to make a difference. We all carry the hopes of the Fijian people to the Ocean Conference. Let’s do justice to them and to the process we have dedicated an immense amount of time and resources to,” Minister Koroilavesau said.

The UN Oceans Conference will be held in New York from 5 to 9 June, 2017.

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