Fiji, like many other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), faces disproportionate vulnerabilities stemming from its geography and dependence on the oceans for its sustenance and livelihoods.
This was the statement of Fiji’s Speaker of Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu at the Pacific Islands Parliament Group in Tonga, yesterday.
Ratu Naiqama said island countries are succumbed to the challenges; however, Fiji has chosen to lead with resilience, innovation and an unyielding commitment to preserving its oceans and combat climate change.
He said Fiji is designating 30 per cent of its marine space as protected areas, working towards sustainable management of 100 per cent of its Exclusive Economic Zone and fostering community engagement.
“Through this effort, Fiji hopes not only safeguard its marine biodiversity but also nurture a model that can be followed by others seeking to harmonise ocean health and climate resilience.”
The Tui Cakau has highlighted that Fiji, after developing the policy and its supporting legal mechanism, the country has begun to implement certain elements of this critical document.
Ratu Naiqama added that together with development partners, academia and NGOs, Fiji is taking a holistic approach towards realising its ocean conservation targets.
“The work that Fiji is undertaking in the ocean-climate nexus is not just a local endeavour – It is a universal lesson in the determination, cooperation and the understanding that our fates are intricately woven together.”
“We stand at a crossroads in our history, with the window to address climate change rapidly narrowing,” Ratu Naiqama added.