Marine Atlas: Maximizing Benefits for Fiji


Fiji is committed to sustainably managing and conserving its marine values, so much so that it has become a global leader in this area. From 5–9 June 2017, Fiji co-hosted the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York to sup- port the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.

agement and conservation of the ocean. Recog- nizing that the well-being of present and future generations is inextricably linked to the health and productivity of the ocean, countries collectively agreed in the Call to Action “to act decisively and urgently, convinced that our collective action will make a meaningful difference to our people, to our planet and to our prosperity.” The second highest number of commitments come from the South Pacific, highlighting not only the importance of the ocean to Pacific Island countries, but also their commitment to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (SDG 14). Together, Fiji’s government and its non-government partners identified and drafted 17 Voluntary Commit- ments (see textbox and table) aimed at protecting and sustainably managing its ocean. These cover a wide range of topics from marine managed areas, including LMMAs, integrated coastal management, coastal fisheries, gender and fisheries, grouper spawning aggregations, turtles, sharks, and whales. These commitments fit into Fiji’s existing policy framework and national priorities on ocean govern- ance, and may help gain new momentum to over- come limited funding, resources and thematic gaps.

Voluntary commitments Voluntary Commitments for The Ocean Conference are initiatives voluntarily under- taken by key stakeholders individually or in partnership that aim to help implement Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. In addition to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (see previous chapter), and regional efforts such as the Pacific Oceanscape Framework, SDG 14 focuses on life below the surface. “The Ocean Conference has changed our relation- ship with the ocean. Henceforth none can say they were not aware of the harm humanity has done to the ocean’s health. We are now working around the world to restore a relationship of balance and respect towards the ocean” said the President of the United Nations General Assembly Peter Thom- son, from Fiji, at the closing of the United Nations Ocean Conference. The 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously agreed to a set of measures that aim to reverse the decline of the ocean’s health. The “Call for Action” outcome document, together with more than 1,300 commitments to action, marks a breakthrough in the global approach to the man-

Fiji is calling for action to conserve valuable life be- low the surface, within its own waters and beyond.

Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, prime minister of Fiji, addressing the UN Ocean Conference.




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