Today marks World Oceans Day with the theme – “Our Oceans, Our Future”. The focus is on encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future.
It is indeed a memorable day as it also coincides with the United Nations Conference on Oceans being held in New York. In 2015, the 193 U.N. member states adopted an agenda of 17 goals for the world’s sustainable development up to 2030. This high-level UN Conference to Support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development convened at the UN Headquarters in New York from 5th June 2017. It also coincides with World Environment Day (June 5). The Governments of Fiji and Sweden are co-hosting this Conference.
This is a proud moment for all of us and whilst our PM is creating ripples at the conference; I am proud to say that UniFiji is now very well placed to partake in this “Call for Action” towards fulfilling various aspects of SDG 14. This is greatly attributed to the USAID funded UniFiji PACAM Project. Through this Project, the University now has the capacity to carry out benthic habitat mapping in Fiji and the region. As part of our commitments to this “Call for Action”, the Project Team has submitted a briefing paper to the UN Oceans Conference – outlining our Project and its relevance in accordance with SDG 14. In the words of Matt Bevin, an American politician, “While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary”.
One of the major threats to our oceans’ health is the proliferation of plastic waste. This by-product of urbanization and industrialization is detrimental to the health of the oceans and the great biodiversity that it supports.The School of Science and Technology will participate and present at the Plastic Phase Out consultations that will take place on 12th and 13th of June at Suva, Fiji. This is another great effort by the University of Fiji in making a transition towards a more sustainable green economy.
So this World Oceans Day let us all take a pledge that we will in our own ways create small ripples by focusing on proper plastic disposal so that we are able to reduce plastic pollution and contribute towards a healthier Oceania for all of US!