The United Nations Members States are urged to support the large Oceanic States within the Blue Pacific Continent, which have a profound connection to and reliance on the oceans, at the heart of our geography, cultures and economies.
This was conveyed in a statement delivered by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Chair, at UN and Fiji’s Permanent Representative at UN, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad, at the UN 46th Plenary Meeting Oceans and the Law of the Sea.
Ambassador Prasad echoed the sentiments of Pacific leaders, that climate change is the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific.
“With rising seas, Pacific Island states are facing the prospect of diminished territories, reduced exclusive economic zones and damaged homes and livelihoods through no fault of their own. If not addressed, such sea-level rise could have devastating effects on regional development, health and even statehood,” Ambassador Prasad said.
Endorsed by PIF Leaders at the PIF’s 50th Anniversary in August this year, the Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the face of Climate Change-related Sea-level rise is a testament to the region’s collective commitment to safeguarding the interests of Pacific people.
Ambassador Prasad said that the Declaration is intended as a formal statement of Forum Members’ view on how the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) rules on maritime zones apply in the situation of climate change-related sea-level rise.
“We offer our Declaration, as a considered, moderate and targeted approach to the issue of sea-level rise. And its relationship to maritime zones through a good faith interpretation of UNCLOS and a description of the current and intended future practice of our members in light of this interpretation.”
Ambassador Prasad urged the UN Member States to support the Declaration. He also called on the UN to accept “that oceanic states have asked for exactly the same protection in international law that is available to landlocked states– their borders are not reduced because of climate change; the Pacific asks no more and no less.”
This feature was produced by The Fijian Government, published at The Fiji Times on 17 December 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.