Convention exists to protect Pacific

By Aruna Lolani ,

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NOUMEA CONVENTION: Officials at the 14th Meeting of the Noumea Convention, yesterday.

NOUMEA CONVENTION: Officials at the 14th Meeting of the Noumea Convention, yesterday. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Protecting natural resources and the environment of the South Pacific Region is what the Noumea Convention is all about.

The point was highlighted at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel yesterday during the 14th Meeting of Noumea Convention. It was organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). 

Director-General, Leota Kosi Latu, said the Noumea Convention is a regional convention that includes 12 member countries of the Pacific and it has been around since 1986.

According to the SPREP website, the Noumea Convention provides a legal instrument to ensure that environmental management and sustainable development of natural resources is implemented throughout the Pacific.

“Normally, the convention focuses on marine resources and talking about oceans,” Leota said. “But as you understand that any problem that relates to the oceans, we need to look at the land, as well. 

“If you look at the Pacific, the Pacific contains many small islands with large oceans, so any solutions we need to develop, in terms of responding to oceans-related issues, we need to consider what we do on land, too, for example: pollution. The majority of pollution in the oceans comes from the land so it’s a very useful platform to address some of these enormous challenges.”

Leota said they will be looking at how to address issues on the agenda in the context of today.

“We will also be looking at the decisions of some of the forum leaders that we met last week. 

“As you are aware, the theme of that leaders meeting was on the Blue Pacific; it focuses on oceans and as I said, there are opportunities which address issues, but you can’t isolate land from ocean.

“So we will be looking at some of the more emerging issues of climate change, that have been around for some time; there’s the issue of seabed mining, the issue of oceans and certification, and marine debris -- these are key issues that face us as a region. 

“As I said, the focus is regional. They have issues to discuss and their decisions will relate to the SPREP meeting next week so a wider SPREP membership will then have the opportunity to assess and discuss the decisions that will be made today, by the Noumea participants.”

This Convention has been around for some time and it has its challenges.

“One of the main challenges for the Noumea Convention parties is the fact that they’ve been able to undertake certain targeted initiatives on a very small shoe string budget. 

“It’s always a challenge and it’s not just something that relates to the Noumea Convention.

“Funding is always an issue but I’m sure they will be looking at building on the achievements of the past in terms of going forward.”

Only nine Pacific island countries were present in the Forum as the other three members are on their way.

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