12 Dec 2019

UN climate talks: 'We're all in the same canoe'

4:05 pm on 12 December 2019

The lines of Economic Economic Zones (EEZ) "only exist on charts and in our minds," Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has told an event at COP25.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama makes a speech during a panel organised by UN-Habitat, within the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. Photo: 2019 Anadolu Agency / AFP

Fiji's government has said that at least 30 percent of Fiji's EEZ will be declared protected areas by 2030.

Speaking at the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion as part of COP25, Mr Bainimarama said Fiji was taking steps to chart a different future for the oceans.

The event was jointly hosted by Fiji and New Zealand for Pacific Leaders and Friends.

Fiji had partnered with the Marshall islands to lead the development of the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership, he said.

"Fiji is set to launch a national oceans policy which considers special planning around our EEZ surveillance, security and efforts to tap into traditional practices and values to achieve this goal."

He said the Pacific Blue pact also aimed to reduce 40 percent emissions from its domestic shipping fleets.

Mr Bainimarama told guests they were all "in the same canoe" when it came to the responsible management of oceans.

"The lines of EEZs only exist on charts and in our minds," he said.

"Schools of tuna don't check in at the oceanic border - separating Fiji from Tuvalu or from the Kiribati. Neither do the giant masses of plastic drifting unrestricted through our seas."

The success of individual nations was sustainably managing their patch of the sea when others did the same.

He said seven other countries were committed to the Pacific Blue partnership, which required the redesigning of their shipping fleets.

He said a financial package of $US500 million was being developed to fund this initiative.

"Even this challenge extends beyond the pacific horizons," he said.

"Fiji is reaching outside of the Pacific to build a wider co-ordinate and international oceans campaign."

Earlier, Mr Bainimarama said Fiji had joined the United States and launched the Pacific Rim Ocean and Climate Actions Partnership.

The pact aims to unite Pacific states, cities and companies to cut emissions and implement international policies that supported ocean health.

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