Alliance formed to improve ocean policy coordination and action in the Pacific

The Pacific Ocean Alliance, which seeks to bring together a broad range of stakeholders with diverse interests in the Pacific Ocean, will be launched this week at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa. Key stakeholders include national governments, the private sector, donors, civil society, academic and research institutions, regional and international organisations, and other partners to engage on ocean issues and strengthen ocean development and management.

The Alliance will contribute to effective ocean policy coordination, coherence and implementation, facilitate regional cooperation for the high seas, support national ocean governance and policy processes. It will also promote integrated decision making at all levels.

?Our ocean is a valuable shared resource and requires careful management. No one nation or industry is solely responsible for putting pressure on our ocean, nor can any one entity find the solution in isolation. It is simple – we cannot protect and manage our ocean without working together,? says Tuiloma Neroni Slade, the Pacific Ocean Commissioner and Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. ?The Alliance will contribute to strengthened coordination and collaboration towards integrated ocean management, and is being developed in response to direction provided by Pacific Leaders. All stakeholders with an interest in the Pacific Ocean are encouraged to join this important partnership.?

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will officially launch the Pacific Ocean Alliance at the Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Dialogue on Oceans, Seas and Biodiversity, to be held in the afternoon of Wednesday 3 September at the SIDS Conference.

?The ocean influences nearly every aspect of the development agenda, particularly for Pacific Island Countries and Territories,? says Mr Slade. ?It influences transport and accessibility, food security, tourism, health, economic development, culture and heritage. If we can think of the ocean in such an integrated manner, we will be making great strides toward sustainable management of our ocean and achieving sustainable development aspirations of our member countries.?

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and Conservation International, will also host Our Sea of Islands, Our Livelihoods, Our Oceania – The Pacific Ocean Alliance, a SIDS 2014 side event.

The event will be held from 1.00 to 2.30pm, Monday 1 September, at the Conference Venue.

The side event will consist of a mix of cultural presentations and conversations on a range of ocean-related topics. H.E. Tommy E Remengesau Jr, President of Palau, H.E. Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, and senior representatives from regional and international organisations will be part of the esteemed group of panellists, and the University of the South Pacific?s Oceania Centre will provide cultural performances inspired by the Pacific Ocean and the work of Epeli Hau?ofa.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will also discuss the Pacific Ocean Alliance at UNESCO?s parallel event on underwater cultural heritage to be held at the Development Bank of Samoa on 3 September.

PIFS