The meeting was in preparation for the first major conference on the ocean that will be held 5-9 June 2017. The panel was comprised of ambassadors from three Small Island Developing Countries (SIDs) including Nauru, Seychelles, and Palau, a science researcher, and an artist.
Marlene Moses from Nauru first started the panel discussion by reviewing the development history of international cooperation on the ocean. She emphasized that the ocean, as it accounts for 97% of the Earth’s surface, was “at the very heart of our identity”. Protection of the ocean, therefore, becomes a critical issue, as can be seen in the SDG 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Following that, participants offered important insights into the three aspects of marine protection: financial, scientific, and artistic.
Addressing the financial aspect, Ronny Jumeau from the Seychelles explained that marine protection was as much a practical problem as a moral one. The central issue was, how these SIDs can pay for marine protection. Despite the fact that only 30% of SIDs belong to low-income countries, most of them still need to take domestic welfare provision and existing debt into consideration. Jumeau, therefore, shared his country’s innovative fundraising methods such as blue bonds and debt swap. Similarly, Palau is facing this financial challenge as it has committed to protecting 500,000 square kilometers of its Exclusive Economic Zone. Ngedikes Olai Uludong introduced the new policy of the Palau government: Pristine Paradise Environment Fee (PPEF).
Addressing the scientific aspect, Narrissa P. Spies explained why setting up bigger, more isolated marine protection areas is important to safeguarding marine resources. Finally, addressing the artistic aspect, Asher Jay illustrated her artwork and the importance of communicating the message of marine protection to the public at large.
Meeting: Event on “Making the Case for Marine Protected Areas”
Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Marlene Moses, Permanent Representative of Nauru to the United Nations;
Ngedikes Olai Uludong, Permanent Representative of Palau to the United Nations;
Ronny Jumeau, Roving Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues for Seychelles;
Narrissa P. Spies, Native Hawaiian Scientist (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology, University of Hawaii);
Asher Jay, National Geographic Explorer;
Kate Brown, Global Island Partnership
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau
Edited By: Fred Yonghabi.