A number of small island states representatives gathered today in Hanoi under the auspices of the 4th Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands to discuss ocean policy issues faced by small island states. The one day workshop was led by the Global Forum Secretariat, the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and the Seychelles. Representatives of UNEP-GPA, UNESCO, the World Bank, the Nature Conservancy, the Japanese Ocean Policy Research institute, the Global Ocean Observatory also participated in the session.
The key debates in those sessions focused on the development of a SIDS ocean policy and strategy, and the need to focus of priority areas faced by SIDS. Priority areas identified included the urgency to adapt to climate change and sea level rise, sustainable management of coastal and marine resources including delimitation of the extended continental shelf, capacity building for adaptation and management, and the emerging threat of invasive species. Participants welcomed the invaluable support the Sea Level Rise Foundation will play in scaling-up adaptation and development of knowledge networks on climate change in small islands and other low lying areas of the world. Caribbean and Pacific representatives shared their experiences in the implementation of climate change adaptation and how vital it is to build adequate institutional responses and community resilience to climate change.
|Dr Edwin Webb (SOPAC) and Dr Rolph Payet (Seychelles) leading the discussions.|
The challenge for all SIDS in meeting the requirements under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was discussed at length and SIDS agreed to pursue discussions during the main conference and argue for the provision of adequate resources and time to make their submissions to UNCLOS on the delimitation of their extended continental shelf.
Capacity building, including strengthening of the SIDS University Consortium, was singled out as one of the most fundamental opportunities for strengthening the ability of SIDS to manage their coastal and marine resources, implement the provisions of UNCLOS, as well as adapt to climate change. Communications, education and awareness were highlighted as key issues which need further strengthening.
The outcomes of this one day workshop will be incorporated into the policy brief on SIDS which has been prepared by Seychelles and will serve to guide SIDS intervention on ocean issues at the high-level session on the Global Forum next week.