The Need for Pacific Voices

The University of the South Pacific’s director at the Oceania Center, Frances Koya-Vaka’uta believes an indigenous Pacific view risks being lost among a global series of ocean science meetings.

The Pacific is the first region to host the series of United Nations (UN) consultations aimed at turning around the decline of the oceans. Dr Koya-Vakauta said the Pacific voice risks being lost among generic UN language when it’s combined with contributions from the eight other consultations.

She said Pacific people need to see themselves reflected in official language for it to resonate properly and this includes plans for the coming ‘Decade of the Ocean’. “Because it’s so critical to our very survival and livelihoods, it has to be in a language our people can connect with. That doesn’t necessarily mean having to include Pacific words or language but seeing that you are represented and that your voices are reflected in the generic language and representation.”

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Funafuti, Tuvalu

The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean.

The marine realm is the largest component of the Earth’s system that stabilizes climate and support life on Earth and human well-being. However, the First World Ocean Assessment released in 2016 found that much of the ocean is now seriously degraded, with changes and losses in the structure, function and benefits from marine systems.

In addition, the impact of multiple stressors on the ocean is projected to increase as the human population grows towards the expected 9 billion by 2050.

As mandated by the UN General Assembly, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO will coordinate the Decade’s preparatory process, inviting the global ocean community to plan for the next ten years in ocean science and technology to deliver, together, the ocean we need for the future we want!

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