Continued leadership advocacy on climate action, genuine multi-stakeholder partnerships and financial sustainability for green growth in blue economies focusing on dedicated pathways towards low carbon development are key tools for implementation of the SDGs according to Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Secretary General, François Martel.

While delivering a keynote address at a UNFCCC side event hosted by Climate Strategies and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Estonia at the COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco the Secretary General spoke on Green Growth for Blue Economies: The future of the Pacific Islands.

“All islands on the planet need no reminder why 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial level need to be our absolute maximum to avoid disaster and reverse the trend in the long-term, but still most of the nations that signed the Paris Agreement see the 2 degree Celsius as their minimum limit,” commented Secretary General Martel.

“These two perceptions are miles apart, resulting in delaying actions on key sectors, transport is the most obvious – mainly shipping, to preserve economic self-interest of a few. We have now entered the Cyclone Category 5 era – like Pam in Vanuatu in 2014, Winston in Fiji in 2016 – not to mention Hurricane Matthew in Haiti just a month ago,” he further added.

The PIDF Secretary General highlighted that as an organisation PIDF focuses on green growth initiatives where green growth is defined as a strategy of sustaining economic growth and job creation necessary to reduce poverty in the face of worsening resource constraints and climate crisis.

“In the context of the Pacific Islands, we now refer to developing the concept of blue economies – building resilience and sustainable management of resources and economic activities that depend directly and indirectly on the ocean,” said the Secretary General during his presentation.

He highlighted that the scope for this included activities which explore and develop ocean resources and which use ocean space. Also focus on actions which protect the ocean environment and use ocean products as a main input as well as activities which provide goods and services to support ocean activities.

“The step forwards that are critical for Pacific Islands not to be left behind require High Ambition Action, a larger focus on sustainable management of ocean resources, both at the same time,” said the PIDF Secretary General.

These High Ambition Actions include slowing climate change, building island resilience and developing national roadmaps for Blue economy. Actions also focus on applying ecosystem-based approaches to ocean resource and land management on Sustainable Sea/Land Transport emission reduction and Pathways for Low Carbon Development and Renewable Energy.

“Our approach to Pathways to Low Emissions Development Strategies (PLEDS) is a capacity building and engagement program to support Pacific Islands to develop and implement long term, low emissions development pathways,” he further remarked at the COP22 side event.

PLEDS aims is to support the design of pathways that are consistent with the Paris Agreement, align NDC mitigation outcomes with resilience and development goals, and improve access to climate finance

While concluding the side event presentation, the Secretary General mentioned that Leaders of the Pacific have become advocates for action by the global community in working towards key objectives with a focus on climate action, Fisheries and Marine Areas beyond national jurisdictions.