Tuesday, August 5, 2014

05/08/2014: Pacific Islands Forum update

The 45th annual meeting of Pacific Island leaders has officially begun in Palau with a message about protecting the world's oceans.

Political leaders and ministers from Pacific nations have been welcomed to Palau with an opening ceremony and state dinner. The theme of this year's forum is 'The Ocean: Life and Future'.

Palau was the first country in the world to declare its waters a sanctuary for sharks. Five years later, President Remengesau now wants the country's exclusive economic zone to be a sanctuary for all sea life.

"The tourism industry, which is our bread and butter, is the mother goose that lays the golden egg for us," he said.

"So the idea of Palau doing the marine sanctuary is for tourism, for food security and for the region."

Mr Remengesau says the Pacific Islands will need a commitment from other countries to make it a success.

"You can't have a marine protected areas or marine sanctuary without the capability to enforce it," he said.

"Thank goodness in today's world there are technologies that are affordable and effective for those kind of purposes.

Mr Remengesau says his country has benefited from Australian-donated patrol ships which help in marine surveillance.

The Small Island States are also seeking and building partnerships with charitable and environmental organisations and private companies.

Mr Remengesau says protecting the oceans is not just a Pacific Islands issue.

"This is an issue that highlights the fact that we are the window to the rest of the world of what happens if we don't address these ocean challenges."

Read more HERE.

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