Fijian President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere is concerned about the lack of commitment and urgency from global leaders in combatting climate change.

He shared this while opening the inaugural Fiji National Seascape Symposium held in Suva.

“A few months ago at the delivery of my maiden address to open the 2021-2022 parliamentary session, I shared my personal concerns on the lack of commitment and urgency from global actors and leaders to increase ambition for emission reductions, and to meaningfully address the impacts of Climate Change on Fiji and other ocean-based economies in the Pacific,” he said.

“Climate change is already affecting our ecosystem.

“From increasing global temperatures that threaten the prosperity of our ocean and the health of our coral reefs, to rising sea levels that have provoked the inward migration of once coastal villages and communities.”

Ratu Wiliame said he had personally not only witnessed these changes but shared personal experiences with many in Fiji, on the far-reaching impacts of “inaction” on the average Fijian fisher, farmer, community, business and nation.

“As we call for ambitious yet specific global action to mitigate the effects of climate change, Fiji has simultaneously called for strong and urgent ocean action.

“Our leadership role in the climate-ocean nexus transcends beyond our borders, across our Pacific seas, onto other parts of the globe.

“As we move through this decade of oceans, we must be uncompromising and clear – there is no climate action without ocean action.”

He added Fiji was committed to protecting her ocean and maintaining its marine resources.

Meanwhile, delegates, experts and stakeholders of the Fiji Seascape Symposium were reminded that as ocean stewards, their responsibility was to the country’s greatest resource – the ocean.

Ratu Wiliame said their responsibility lay in learning more about the issues that plagued our waters and consolidating resources at the local, regional and global levels to execute the goals and objectives that had been set in place to address issues affecting our oceans.

He said the Government was committed to working with its national partners to guide and innovate conservation and protection within Fiji’s four designated Seascapes – the Great Sea Reef or Cakaulevu, Vatu-i-Ra Seascape; Kadavu Astrolabe Reef Seascape; and the Lau Seascape.

He said Government was also committed to translate the learnings, successes and best practices to support conservation action across Fiji’s entire exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

He added the three-day symposium would review the efforts and the impact on the execution of Fiji’s commitment to the UN Oceans Conference (UNOC); and review Fiji’s efforts to date, and define Fiji’s progress towards the achievement of the long-term marine reserve and conservation priorities.

The symposium continues today.

This story was written by Unaisi Ratubalavu, originally published at The Fiji Times on 21 April 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

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