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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

Fiji delegation visit the WESTPAC for future re-engagement

On15 February 2019, the Sub-Commission received with a great honor a Delegation from the Republic of Fiji. The Delegation consists of H.E.Kolinio Gata Takali,High Commissioner and Pita Tagicakirewa, Counselor from the Fiji High Commission. The Delegation was warmly greeted by Wenxi Zhu, Head of the WESTPAC Office, Somkiat Khokiattiwong, IOC Vice Chair, and programme staff at the WESTPAC office.

Wenxi Zhu briefed the Fiji Delegation on the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and the Sub-Commission’s main areas of efforts in ocean processes and climate, marine biodiversity conservation and seafood safety, healthy ocean ecosystems, and capacity development, particularly these aiming to assist countries in the region in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 14. He also introduced the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), and further expected hope that Fiji will be actively re-engaged in marine science development and cooperation in the region, particularly in the context of the coming UN Decade of Ocean Science.

H.E.Kolinio Takali and Counselor Pita Tagicakirewa pointed out the challenges that Fiji is being faced for sustainable development, and expect the Sub-Commission could assist Fiji in developing their human resources in this field.

Fiji has been a member of the Sub-Commission at a very beginning . However, the engagement of Fiji into the Sub-Commission remains very limited due to various reasons. Throughout the working visit, both sides had a very friendly and open exchange of views on furthering the engagement of the Republic of Fiji into the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, particularly its Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC). Mr Kolinio Gata Takali and Pita Tagicakirewa expressed their vision for the ocean, and a strong willingness to re-connect Fiji to other WESTPAC countries in the region.

This visit provided a good opportunity to re-engage Fiji into the Sub-Commission. The Sub-Commission encouraged Fiji to attend its 12th Intergovernmental Session that will be held on 2-5 April 2019 in Manila, Philippines. Wenxi Zhu expressed that Fiji’s participation will be of great help to advance their understanding on the Sub-Commission’s efforts, better interact with other countries, and further explore any opportunity for cooperation.