Tonga joined over 600 representatives at the 8th Our Ocean Conference aimed at finding sustainable solutions for a healthy ocean, from 2-3 March in Panama City.
Held under a theme, ‘Our Ocean, Our Connection’ the premier global event focused on six broad areas of action, including: promoting marine protected areas, fostering a sustainable blue economy, tackling the climate crisis, supporting maritime security, advancing sustainable fisheries, and combating marine pollution.
The Acting Minister of Fisheries and MAFF Minister, Lord Fohe during a Blue Prosperity Reception joined high-level speakers, including Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, Panama’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Ivan Eskildsen, Vanuatu’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Hon. Bakoa Kaltonga and U.S Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.
Lord Fohe said that the Pacific is an oceanic region with 2% land mass and 98% water with the largest and deepest ocean basin on earth.
“It is critical we understand the connection between ecosystems from the highlands to the high seas which underpin security and livelihoods.”
“Our islands are highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, and nature-positive approaches is the way forward to effectively addressing the triple planetary crisis of pollution, biodiversity loss, climate change, and the nexus with the ocean.”
He said understanding ecological impacts strengthens our resilience and sustains valuable ecosystem services allowing us to explore real options for investments in blue and green growth. It will allow us to evaluate trade-offs and identify co-benefits with adaptation and mitigation measures. The Government of Tonga recognized that nature is the foundation of life, underpinning human security, well-being, and sustainable development.
Threats to ocean biodiversity
Some of the key factors threatening ocean biodiversity and community livelihoods: illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, marine pollution and deep dea mining, coastal overharvesting of resources, and lack of an appropriate knowledge-base and related-capacities for real-time decision-making.
He said to alleviate these pressures and achieve sustainable benefits, the Government of Tonga had committed 30% no-take marine areas, and 100% marine areas under management consistent with IUCN’s Protected Area Categories and SDG 14 through its national marine spatial plan and planning process.
This included establishing 64 Special Management Areas, ongoing engagement at the International Seabed Authority to ensure robust evidence based fully informed, and legally sound governance of all activities in the area, as well as ongoing negotiations currently underway for a legally binding treaty to govern the sustainable use and conservation of our marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdictions.
He said, moving forward, the Government of Tonga continued to call upon the global community to support.
This included the ongoing implementation of the Agreement on Ports State Measures to combat IUU fishing; integrated and climate-smart Land and Marine Spatial Plans, Compliance and its Implementation; Blue Economy, Blue Food Systems and sustainable value chains; combating marine pollution, among many others.
Tonga’s delegation included the Ministry of Fisheries CEO, Dr. Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi, MEIDECC Advisor Dr. Fononga Va’inga Mangisi-Mafile’o, and Jeanett Vea.
Support Lumiserver & Cynesys on Tipeee
Visit our sponsors
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is the cheaper, easier way to send money abroad. It helps people move money quickly and easily between bank accounts in different countries. Convert 60+ currencies with ridiculously low fees - on average 7x cheaper than a bank. No hidden fees, no markup on the exchange rate, ever.
Now you can get a free first transfer up to 500£ with your ESNcard. You can access this offer here.