A blue charter for sustainable ocean development

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DEAR EDITOR, an article in the Island Sun yesterday, Tuesday, May 1, 2018, cited the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting ( CHOGM) in London where Commonwealth member delegates, including the Solomon Islands PM, discussed climate change and identified the need for a unified global action plan to address rising sea levels, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution and over-fishing.

A Blue Charter set of guiding principles was considered to guide nations in sustainable ocean development and ensure maritime industries are managed in a way that preserves and promotes ocean health.

The Blue Charter plan put forward would apply to ocean governance in accordance with the 16 principles and values of the Commonwealth Charter, including environmental protection, good governance, justice and peace, human rights, gender equality and recognition of the needs of vulnerable nations and young people.

It was envisaged the charter will help support countries to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals in particular Goal 14 to conserve and sustainably use the seas.

To give it practical effect, a knowledge and innovation hub and series of best practice toolkits will be developed, complementing the existing support provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat to its 45 coastal member countries.

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It is understood that at the end of CHOGM, the Commonwealth Heads mandated the Secretariat to take forward the Blue Charter plan of action and to have it supported.

Quoting the article in the Island Sun, commentary said, “Today’s situation with a multitude of piecemeal national and regional approaches and policies can neither effectively address the difficulties the environment and especially the ocean face in a coherent manner nor monitor global progress. “

It is imperative, therefore, that the Blue Ocean plan becomes a game changer because of the special vulnerability of small island states and the impact of climate change already impacting on them, especially in the case of the Solomon Islands where five small islands have already been lost to the sea and coastal erosion and salt water intrusion threatening homes and many lives.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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