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Fiji leads action on ocean and climate change for Commonwealth Blue Charter

June 24, 2019 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

‘Champion’ countries of the Commonwealth Blue Charter are laying the groundwork for joint action and robust, innovative strategies to tackle the world’s most pressing ocean issues.

Fiji is one of 12 countries that has stepped forward to lead nine ‘action groups’ under the Blue Charter – a commitment made by the 53 Commonwealth members to work together to solve ocean-related problems.

Championing the area of ocean and climate change, Fiji joined a four-day programme for action group champions in London, which concluded today.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “We are determined for our collective engagement on the Commonwealth Blue Charter to focus on practical action, and for our response to be guided principally by those who experience most acutely the difficulty and trauma of ocean and climate-related challenges. They will be further supported by the acuity and knowledge of all the partners we can find, with the emphasis always on action.”

Fiji’s Special Representative for Oceans Taholo Kami added: “Island countries and coastal communities all over the world are at the forefront of climate change and ocean-related challenges. The urgency to act cannot be underestimated.

“With 53 member countries represented right across the global groupings, the Commonwealth Blue Charter gives us that opportunity to be a catalyst to drive global change – it’s a demonstration of what the Commonwealth can do.”

Other action groups include: Aquaculture (led by Cyprus), Coral Reef Protection and Restoration (co-led by Australia, Belize, Mauritius), Ocean Observations (Canada), Ocean Acidification (New Zealand), Mangrove Restoration (Sri Lanka), Marine Plastic Pollution (United Kingdom, Vanuatu), Blue Economy (Kenya), and Marine Protected Areas (Seychelles).

From 18 to 21 June, delegates focused on strategies to rally members, mobilise resources for collaborative projects and boost public awareness.

A special networking day co-organised with Bloomberg Philanthropies homed in on intensifying partnerships, linking up countries with more than 50 potential partners from the private sector, academia, civil society, philanthropies and the international development community.

They were hosted today by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss priorities leading up to the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda in June 2020.

Commonwealth Head of Oceans and Natural Resources, Nicholas Hardman-Mountford said: “The Commonwealth Blue Charter fills the gap between high level global commitments and concrete cooperation on the ground, where member countries can help, inspire, motivate, and learn from each other, in order to achieve our shared ocean goals. The All Champions meeting this week has set a roadmap to the future and we are excited to deliver on it.”

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