Rarotonga, Cook Islands, 31 August, 2012 --- The World Bank today announced plans for a Pacific Islands ocean investment package to be supported by a number of partners from the Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO). The GPO is a coalition of more than 120 countries and organizations, including the World Bank, that has come together to improve the health of the world’s oceans. This investment package, under the GPO, will build on existing ocean activities in the region such as the Pacific Oceanscape Framework.
The proposed investment package, which is being discussed with leaders from eight Pacific Island countries, would target priorities where financing gaps have been identified or where innovation and private sector engagement could help to transform markets for ocean goods and services toward greener production. This may include support for:
- Improved governance of tuna fisheries to ensure greater benefits for countries and the environment;
- Creating value chains and sustainable jobs in near-shore fisheries and coastal development;
- Protecting and restoring critical habitats for biodiversity and building ecosystem resilience;
- Reducing pollution through control of sedimentation, recycling and waste management.
The Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest ocean area and home to the largest remaining tuna stocks. For Pacific Island Countries the ocean is the most important driver of economic growth and for many countries, it is responsible for providing more than half of all exports. The health of the Pacific Ocean is therefore vital to the livelihoods of all Pacific Islanders and underpins national poverty reduction efforts.
“The Pacific Ocean is inextricably linked to the future of Pacific Island nations,” said Marea Hatziolos, Senior Coastal and Marine Specialist for the World Bank. “If properly managed, the ocean can be the source of sustainable development and wealth creation for the region.
“But marine resources are neither infinite nor immune to human assault. The benefits from the ocean will not be realized without significant investment in management and long-term stewardship. We hope this proposed investment will further build on the efforts by countries, regional organizations and others in the region.”
Hatziolos said the Pacific is the first priority of ten regions expected to be the focus of GPO activities. “This recognizes the tremendous work of the Pacific region in developing fisheries agreements and conservation regimes, and the need to act now to consolidate these efforts and pre-empt future declines.”
The Global Partnership for Oceans is an inclusive partnership of 120 governments, civil society organizations, private companies, research institutions, UN agencies, multi-lateral banks, and foundations that aims to mobilize significant human, financial, and institutional resources for effective public and private investment in priority ocean areas.
The partnership recognizes the importance of healthy oceans to feed the planet’s growing population, support millions of livelihoods, and contribute hundreds of billions of dollars annually to the global economy. The Partnership will combine global expertise with new finance to close the gap in implementing global commitments for healthy and productive oceans.
Financing for the Pacific investment package is expected to be catalyzed by concessional finance and grants from the World Bank, with financial and human resources likely to follow from other GPO partners working in the region. Private sector investment would also be sought along with knowledge and innovation from other partners.
For more information about the World Bank in the Pacific, please visit www.worldbank.org/pi.
For more information about the Global Partnership for Oceans, visit http://www.globalpartnershipforoceans.org