Ambassador Peter Thomson delivers Public Lecture at USP
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His Excellency Ambassador Peter Thomson, the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the public lecture at USP.
His Excellency Ambassador Peter Thomson, the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has urged everyone to register their commitments and initiatives on the online registry on The Ocean Conference website: https://oceanconference.un.org/
He made the plea while delivering a lecture at The University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Campus, which was organised by the School of Development, Governance, and International Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Fiji.
From L-R: Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Internationalisation, H.E Thomson and Dr Sandra Tarte, Head of the SGDIA.
The lecture was attended by more than three hundred (300) USP students, staff, heads of regional organisations and the general public.
“If you want to stand up and be counted as activists for the ocean, the registry is for you and your community. Please pledge your actions, whether as an individual, as a group or organisation, as a province, government or in partnership with private enterprise or academia,” H.E. Ambassador Thomson remarked.
H.E. Ambassador Thomson is currently in Fiji attending a preparatory meeting of Pacific Leaders, hosted by the Government of Fiji, for the Ocean Conference scheduled for 5-9 June in New York.
“This is an opportunity to join the Pacific region in our efforts to mobilise the rest of the world to commit to taking effective global action at the Ocean Conference, to save the oceans for generations to come,” he remarked.
H.E. Ambassador Thomson said the Ocean Conference aims to rally all stakeholders to forge new and innovative partnerships and make voluntary commitments for action to help save our oceans.
He added that the compounding effect of these actions, whether at grassroots, regional or global levels is what will emerge from the Ocean Conference as the global work plan for the future.
“It will be the biggest Ocean Conference there has ever been and we will be there to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, a very comprehensive one,” he said.
SDG 14 requires the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, sea and marine resources for sustainable development.
H.E.Ambassador Thomson said that with the ocean making up almost ninety-eight per cent (98%) of the area of the Pacific region and with oceans serving as an essential source of our food security and well-being, the health of the ocean is central to the Pacific’s way of life.
“The stakes are high for us. As a region, we know that human activity has placed the ocean’s health in serious jeopardy,” said H.E. Ambassador Thomson.
He said all over the world, marine pollution is choking marine life, giant plastic jars are circulating out in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans and coastal ecosystems are degrading due to agricultural and natural run offs and ocean warming caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) and climate change – all of which are caused by human activity.
“There is an equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic being dumped into the ocean every minute of every day. The good news though is that human problems have human solutions and that is what the UN conference is about.
“There are things we can solve like overfishing but the challenge is climate change and ocean warming, which have a huge impact on tropical areas like ours,” H.E. Ambassador Thomson said.
H.E. Ambassador Thomson said the Ocean Conference will be co-presided by the Governments of Fiji and Sweden. He paid tribute to Sweden saying they have been a perfect partner for Fiji.
“Sweden has been steadfast progressive partners for us over the last two (2) years building up to this conference,” he noted.
H.E. Ambassador Thomson also mentioned that he was proud that the Fijian Government is taking leadership on Climate Change in that it will chair COP23, saying it was an immense responsibility.
The preparatory meeting of Pacific Leaders on the Ocean Conference in Suva ends on 17 March, 2017.
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