25 Jul 2019

Pacific voices 'need to be reflected in UN language'

4:05 pm on 25 July 2019

An indigenous Pacific view risks being lost among a global series of ocean science meetings.

Dr Frances Koya-Vaka'uta from the USP's Oceania Centre

Dr Frances Koya-Vaka'uta from the USP's Oceania Centre Photo: USP

That's the view of the University of the South Pacific's director at the Oceania Centre, Frances Koya-Vaka'uta.

The Pacific is the first region to host the series of United Nations consultations aimed at turning around the decline of the oceans.

Dr Koya-Vakauta said the Pacific voice risks being lost among generic UN language when it's combined with contributions from the eight other consultations.

She said Pacific people need to see themselves reflected in official language for it to resonate properly and this includes plans for the coming 'Decade of the Ocean'.

"Because it's so critical to our very survival and livelihoods, it has to be in a language our people can connect with. That doesn't necessarily mean having to include Pacific words or language but seeing that you are represented and that your voices are reflected in the generic language and representation."

The USP's Dr Frances Koya-Vaka'uta is attending the first consultation in Noumea.