Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says a key deep-seated challenge facing ocean conservation and management in the Pacific is human behavior.
Sogavare told the one-day Pacific Ocean Summit of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in the Hawaiian capital, Honolulu, on Wednesday that ocean management is really not the challenge facing Pacific conservation efforts but rather the management of human behavior towards the ocean.
“The adage that we cannot manage the oceans but instead need to manage the behavior of people who use the ocean, summarises one of the key deep-seated challenges confronting us in the Pacific,” Sogavare said.
He added that the importance placed on the ocean is often centered on what can be derived from it and so the value of the ocean is degraded by this notion of maximisation of derivable benefits.
The Prime Minister said this notion cannot be addressed overnight but requires commitment by all and at all levels in dealing with.
He said ocean governance regimes have been developed and global and regional ocean policy-setting conferences held yet actions remain sparse and fragmented and it is not at all surprising that the Pacific Ocean and its habitats continue to be threatened by pollution and over-harvesting.
“Many of our existing ocean governance regimes perpetuate the above skewed focus and we need to address this if we are to deal with the manifested threats.
“There are no silver bullets but what is clear is that the connectivity and complexity of the Pacific Ocean requires genuine partnership to leverage and catalyse action to address threats.”
Meanwhile, the summit concluded with a collective expression of commitment by all Pacific Island leaders in attendance to work together in addressing the challenges to ocean management and enhancing their efforts on this front.