Next week, the United Nations Oceans’ Conference is being held in New York, co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden, with a specific focus on Sustainable Development Goal 14 – namely to conserve and sustainably manage the use of the oceans, seas and marine resources. Hugh Govan, an advisor with the Locally Managed Marine Area network who has worked with Pacific coastal communities for many years, said these communities had lived in harmony with the ocean for thousands of years and they “need to be listened to”. “There is much that the Pacific coastal communities in particular have to offer the world in terms of ways forward where people can be part of actively managing the coastal and, indeed, oceanic resources.”
BILL ENGLISH TO RECEIVE CHIEFLY TITLE
SAMOA – The New Zealand prime minister Bill English is to be bestowed with a chiefly title on a visit to Samoa this week. English travels to Samoa on Wednesday for its 55th Independence Day celebrations. It’s English’s first trip as prime minister to the former New Zealand colony. Some of the discussion with his Samoan counterpart Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi will focus on the Pacific Islands Forum which Samoa will host in September. He will also visit New Zealand aid projects and on Friday attend the first Super Rugby game to be played in Samoa with the Blues taking on the Reds in Apia. It’s understood Fale‘ula village is bestowing the title, part of a growing trend to honour eminent foreigners. New Zealand’s former prime minister John Key holds the title of To‘osavili in Poutasi which was devastated by the 2009 tsunami.
NEW BABY DIES FROM DENGUE FEVER
NEW CALEDONIA – A six-month old baby has died from dengue fever in New Caledonia. According to the newspaper Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes the baby died from the mosquito-born disease last Thursday in Mont Dore. She was the ninth person to die from dengue during the current outbreak in New Caledonia. The government has sent condolences to the family and appealed for vigilance from the public to guard against the epidemic. There have been more than 3500 cases of dengue, with nearly 500 hospitalised since January.
BAINIMARAMA WELCOMES TABUA HOME
FIJI – Fiji’s prime minister Frank Bainimarama has welcomed home dozens of confiscated whales teeth saying their return is timely given efforts to save the ocean. In a ceremony in Fiji, New Zealand handed over 148 sperm whales’ teeth which people from Fiji had attempted to take into New Zealand over the years. Bainimarama said the teeth, which are known in Fiji as tabua, carry great significance for Fijian people and full credit must be given to both countries’ border agencies which worked collaboratively to make the exchange happen. Bainimarama said Fiji brought in a quota on the trade and export of tabua and only stranded sperm whales could add to the number in circulation. He said Fiji’s respect for the ocean and marine life would always take precedence and that the exchange was timely, as Fiji prepares to co-host the UN Conference on Oceans next month in New York.