We are the Blue Pacific Continent: A region of Large Ocean Island States. A healthy ocean is crucial for our survival and the cultural, spiritual, social, and economic linkages inherent between our people, islands and ocean. The challenges we face in striving for ocean management are immense, but we need to and are working to overcome them. The UN Ocean Decade represents the opportunity of a lifetime for the Pacific.
Pacific island countries and territories are amongst the most vulnerable to climate change, living with its impacts are already part of our everyday life. Our homes and infrastructure are threatened with sea-level rise, the distribution and abundance of fish stocks in our Pacific EEZ will change impacting our economic revenue, and the coastal ecosystems that our Pacific communities rely upon are under threat – we are challenged with coral bleaching, and erosion and ocean acidification. The challenges of marine pollution further exacerbate the problem to our environment and human health.
In the face of climate change, ocean science, policy frameworks and traditional knowledge form the 3 pillars of the emerging integrated ocean management within National Ocean Policies. The Pacific was the first region to organise a planning workshop on the UN Decade of Ocean Science in 2019, agreeing on clear priorities.