An Ocean Summit jointly organised by the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Environment and MACBIO Project will be held in Honiara today.
Policy Secretary for Resources Sector in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Chris Vehe said the summit to be opened by Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare will discuss and define the nature and role of the ocean in the development of Solomon Islands to formulate an Ocean Management Policy.
He said the proposed policy will be incorporated into the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s 20-year National Development Plan.
“The DCC Government wishes to have in place an integrated Ocean Development and Management Policy similarly as policies that were put in place for the development and management of land over the years by different political governments.
“The proposed DCC Government 20-Year Development Plan will include the Ocean Resource Management Policy to be formulated based on the outcome of the Ocean Summit.”
Dr Vehe said the Ocean is extremely valuable to Solomon Islands as its government revenue income and the survival of its communities depend heavily on its rich fisheries and marine resources.
“Our ocean makes up 98 percent of our nation. We have strong cultural connections to the sea whereby our communities depend heavily on our rich fisheries and marine resources for survival and income. Our government revenue is also heavily dependent on our fisheries and marine resources.”
He said Solomon Islands has the greatest diversity of marine plants and animals in the world but all the benefits enjoys from these aquatic lives are at risk from both local and global activities.
“We are polluting our seas, throwing rubbish into the ocean, taking too many fish than we need and damaging the habitats where fish live.
“Furthermore, global pressure on our ocean from climate change is increasing the sea surface temperature and increasing storm intensity, sea-level rise and acidification of the sea-water. “
Dr Vehe said the Democratic Coalition for Change Government acknowledges the importance of the marine and coastal resources to Solomon Islanders and vows to do more to protect the benefits derived from these aquatic commodities.
He said the one day summit to be held at the Heritage Park Hotel is a culmination of a range of government-initiated activities which were focussed on the country’s attention on the plight of its marine environment. These activities included the Beach Clean-up Day, Environment Day and Deep Sea Mineral Youth Debate held last week and a Coral Triangle Day to be observed today.
Dr Vehe said the government will engage in further communications with its stakeholders and the public after the government’s identification of the key future directions for the better management of the ocean at the Ocean Summit.
The MACBIO Project is a Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Management project in implemented in five pacific Island countries including Solomon Islands.
This project is jointly implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Oceania and supported by the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
– PMO Press Secretariat