“Pacific Leaders Boldly United: Championing Climate Action, Planetary Stewardship, and Robust Food Systems for a Just and Sustainable Tomorrow”
GOVERNMENT OF TONGA
(6th December, 2023)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates COP28: Pacific leaders unveiled an unprecedented, bold initiative to rejuvenate and protect the Blue Pacific Continent for future generations – Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity. Standing united at the forefront of this challenge like never before, they have set a new benchmark in conservation efforts. With this ground breaking initiative to safeguard and revitalize the Blue Pacific Continent, Pacific leaders make a direct appeal to global partners to actively join the Pacific to turn the tide for the benefit of the Pacific region and planet.
Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity was unanimously endorsed by Pacific Leaders at the 52nd Pacific Island Leaders Forum in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, by all Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) exemplifying the Pacific region’s commitment to continued innovation and solutions to address the challenges faced nationally and as a region.
Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku, of Tonga addressed global leaders at the nature session of the World Climate Action Summit on Saturday 2 December, announcing the Pacific commitment to the following three goals of Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity:
- Goal 1: 100% EFFECTIVE SUSTAINABLE OCEAN MANAGEMENT including 30% protection of the Blue Pacific Continent, aligned with Pacific country contexts, priorities and capacities
Goal 1 sets the ultimate ambition that the entire Blue Pacific is sustainably managed. With PICTs representing 20% of the global Exclusive Economic Zones (30% with Australia & New Zealand), this is critically necessary not only for Pacific people but also for the biodiversity, food systems and climate of the entire planet.
- GOAL 2: HEALTHY, PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE thriving because of robust food systems underpinned by resilient ecosystems
Goal 2 sets the ambition that robust Pacific food systems will be effectively managed to ensure ecosystem protection and advance the health and prosperity of the region’s people.
- GOAL 3: FIT-FOR-PURPOSE FINANCING through sustainable mechanisms to support the Blue Pacific strategy are in place and operational
Goal 3 sets the ambition of creating the right enabling environment, by developing and implementing fit-for-purpose sustainable financing mechanisms across the entire region.
This is the most significant global conservation effort to date, intricately weaving together robust regional food systems, with proactive climate measures.
Honourable Hu’akavameiliku described the initiative as “a paradigm shift,” signifying a transformative approach to fostering and enhancing impactful partnerships. The Prime Minister emphasized the critical gap in sustainable climate financing needed to achieve regional and global goals. Citing the IRENA assessment, he pointed out that the Pacific region requires a minimum annual investment of 1.6 billion dollars to effectively address the climate emergency, underscoring the urgent need across the board for substantial and scaled investments.
Echoing this commitment, President of Palau, Hon. Surangel Whipps, Jr., reiterated his dedication during the Launch side event “Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity is a testament to our resolute commitment to shifting from dialogue to definitive action. It’s a Pacific-led initiative, for the Pacific.”
The president went on to say “We recognise the importance of forging partnerships and igniting innovation with all partners who share our values. Together, we are dedicated to fostering a thriving Blue Pacific, setting a precedent in global ocean stewardship.” With this initiative, Pacific leaders are now poised to form a Pacific-led funding coalition of diverse partners. They seek to co-design and implement high-impact actions to deliver on the three goals set out above aligned with the Pacific 2050 strategic plan. This collaborative effort is a vital step toward realizing the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategic vision, embodying the aspirations and urgent needs of our time through a values-based, Pacific-focused approach.