SUVA, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Defining a Pacific Blue Economy and developing a roadmap for it is at the top of agenda at the Pacific Islands Development Forum's first high-level meeting, which opened in Suva's Grand Pacific Hotel on Wednesday.
President of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Fijian Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, told members of the Forum to act together on sustainable oceans and better management of its resources.
In a follow-up from the UN oceans conference in June, Bainimarama highlighted the importance of the seas not only to the economic development of the region but also to its people, cultures and histories which are deeply rooted in this environment.
The conference will hold discussions and break-out sessions to identify areas of the blue economy that has successfully been piloted in other parts of the world.
At the end of the two-day conference there would be an outline of a blueprint for a Pacific Blue Economy to guide sustainable development of ocean resources.
Bainimarama told delegates they needed to pause and consider, at every level of development, how their actions impacted the natural world around them.
He said their identity as Pacific Islanders was tied intimately to the health of their oceans and to the marine plant and animal life that inhabit them.
"We are oceanic peoples, with cultures, histories and ways of life that are all rooted in the ocean environment. And, make no mistake it is we in the Pacific who face the most severe consequences of the widespread degradation of our oceans and seas."
But this is not only a Pacific problem. The growing threat to our oceans is affecting every person on earth, and the movement towards more "blue" economies is global, he said, adding the Pacific people needed to manage their oceans and marine resources in a more sustainable manner.
He told the delegates they needed to find ways to usher in new technologies, business models and industries to restore the health of their oceans and advance the objectives of blue economic development.
The COP23 will be organized by Fiji and hosted at the headquarters of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany, in November.
The prime minister added it was their collective concerns, struggles and experiences that would be placed at the forefront of the negotiations under the Fijian presidency of the COP23.
"Our presidency is also very much tied to promoting blue economic development, as the ocean, marine eco-systems and our changing climate are inextricably linked to one another."
Bainimarama said Pacific nations needed to keep up pressure for demanding the international community to take serious action.
"We need to be relentless, we need to remain unified and we need to keep our interests at the top of the global agenda," Bainimarama said.