Vanuatu calls on Pacific to unite on ocean sustainability policy

A Vanuatu government official has called on Pacific states to unite to bring ocean science data to the forefront of national policymaking. 

Toney Tevi, the head of the Vanuatu government's Maritime and Ocean Affairs Division, said ocean science, data and information is critical to the formulation of national ocean policies.

“We must lobby together to ensure that we utilise the science we need [...] for the ocean we want," he said.

Mr. Tevi was speaking recently at the Pacific Community workshop on the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) in Noumea.

Mr Tevi said the workshop was a fantastic opportunity for participants take a coordinated and collective approach to implement Sustainable Development Goal (S.D.G.) 14 on oceans. That goal aims to conserve the oceans, seas and marine resources and use them for sustainable development.

“We must use this opportunity to ensure our messages are clear and strong and we are Pacific people and our ocean sustains us so that we can ensure that this continues for our future generations by effectively utilising ocean science."

Vanuatu is seeking to forge new partnerships and implement its ocean policy in tandem with other countries, which Mr Tevi indicated are developing their policies now or already have them in place such as the Solomon Islands.

And the government itself is bringing together an approach that ensured it made use of the latest data on the health of the oceans and was bringing together a diverse range of departments spanning Fishers, Agriculture, Planning and interests across the non-profit and private sectors to coordinate the approach. 

“I am pleased to share that last week we have set up a dedicated office for our team," he said. 

"The implementation of S.D.G. 14, the work we are doing in Vanuatu requires ocean science. 

“We cannot work alone to achieve the goals set out in our national ocean policy or the S.D.G. and we are grateful to the support received from regional development agencies."

The Vanuatu government official acknowledged the technical support and advice provided by the South Pacific Community (S.P.C.), as the technical hub for science in the region.

“The Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science (P.C.C.O.S.) has been established by S.P.C. to ensure we are able to access ocean science data and information. 

"P.C.C.O.S. work started in Port Vila through the first P.C.C.O.S. multi-sectoral training on Ocean Science as part of our Ocean Policy implementation.

He said the societal outcomes specified for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 are timely, and they need a good push towards bringing ocean science and literacy to the forefront of their work.

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