Moana Pasifika Voyage – A movement for the Future of the Pacific Ocean
Moana is “the deep ocean” in many Polynesian languages. Moana Pasifika refers to the Pacific Ocean – the world’s biggest ocean – bigger then the world’s total land mass. While at the heart of life and culture in Pacific island nations, the Pacific Ocean’s impact is global, influencing everything from earth-wide weather patterns and biodiversity, to international trade with some 60% of the world’s economies located in and around its perimeter.
Today, however, this Ocean is under threat. A warming global climate is changing our environment like never before – rising sea levels, acidification and extreme weather are bringing severe challenges to life that is dependant on our seas. The islands of the Pacific, which some 2.3 million people call home, are on the front lines of these changes, which have become a real and imminent threat to livelihoods, cultures and the continuing existence of whole island states. For these populations already struggling with extremely limited natural resources, these problems are further exacerbated by current over harvesting of ocean resources, pollution and destruction of habitats. Change is no longer an option, it is an imperative for the survival of the region and its people.
What is the Moana Pasifika Voyage?
The Moana Pasifika Voyage is a journey for the future of the Pacific; it is a coming together of a coalition of the willing, who have united to chart a new course toward a sustainable future for this ocean, her islands and her people. The Moana Pasifika Voyage, initiated in a collaborative effort by a diverse range of institutions, organisations and individuals, is a movement that seeks to shift the paradigm, change the conversation and initiate action to initiate real change throughout the region. In September, the Moana Pasifika Voyage culminated in the Pacific Ocean Summit at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii. Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Leaders gathered to announce the formation of an ambitious 2030 Pacific Ocean Partnership to foster meaningful collaboration between governments, private sector, civil society and indigenous peoples to save the world’s largest ocean. Set in the heart of the Pacific, Hawaii provided a unique platform to convene this new partnership as well as for the conservation community to grasp the significance of the Moana Pasifika message. More than 30 staff from the IUCN Oceania Regional Office, joined by many traditional voyagers and navigators from the region, attended at the Congress, participating in forums, seminars and discussions, to bring Pacific issues to the front and center.
Looking to the future of the Moana Pasifika Voyage, the Pacific Ocean Summit outlined 3 key steps that will be the primary focus into 2017:
- Development of Partnership entry criteria for the 2030 Pacific Ocean Partnership, based on commitments to action, to be held in conjunction with preparatory meetings in Fiji in early 2017 for the United Nations Oceans Conference.
- Formal launch of the 2030 Pacific Ocean Partnership at the UN Oceans Conference in New York in 2017.
- Promotion of the Partnership at the inaugural Oceans Pavilion at the 57th International Venice Biennale, the oldest, largest and best-attended visual art festival in the world.