Sustainable Oceans in a Changing Climate – Conference Summary (2017)

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As stewards of the world’s largest ocean, Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Leaders gathered in Honiara, Solomon Islands, on 12 July 2016 and approved for the PIDF to host the 1st high level Pacific Blue Economy Conference (PBEC) in 2017.

This Conference was a two-day meeting held at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji on 23 and 24 August, 2017.

The overall goal was to provide a knowledge platform on the blue economy for the Pacific Islands and to explore lessons learned, innovations and emerging industries based on ocean resources.

The Conference built on the outcomes of the June 2017 UN Conference on SDG 14 and on existing Pacific commitments and frameworks, to provide a roadmap for refining the concept and implementing a Blue Economy in the Pacific.

More specifically, the objectives of this Conference were:
to inform Pacific senior officials and stakeholders on emerging ocean resources management issues and opportunities;
to assist the Pacific in defining the blue economy concept and ways to implement it;
to support the Pacific by debating the complex issues surrounding the blue economy; and
to facilitate exchange of experiences, lessons learned and good practices in the region and other parts of the globe on the concept of blue growth and the blue economy that are adapted and aligned with Pacific islands perspectives, priorities and solutions.

The Conference was chaired by the Hon. Milner Tozaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Solomon Islands, on behalf of the Chair of PIDF, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, the Hon. Manasseh Sogavare. The welcoming re-marks were eloquently provided by the Prime Minister of Fiji, the Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, co-chair of the Ocean Conference held in June in New York and upcoming Chair of the UNFCCC COP23, who welcomed official delegations from 12 Pacific island countries and territories, and more than 30 development partners to the region.

More than 200 participants took part in the two-day event. They included a various audience made of government, private sector, civil society, research institute and academia, representatives of multilateral institutions, the UN, and other development partners, international and regional organizations. This was a truly multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder conference on the Blue Economy for the Pacific Islands.

This Conference Summary, with Key Recommendations and Proposed Actions, together with the Proceedings of this Conference, will form the first steps of a blueprint for the Pacific Islands Development Forum to contribute to the implementation of the SDG 14 and to the development of a Blue Pacific.