Fiji emphasizes need for green economies in Pacific region

13:14, July 27, 2011      

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Fiji on Wednesday urged for green economies in the Pacific, saying there is the need for Pacific economies to go green if the region is to ensure its economic viability.

Fijian Minister for Environment Colonel Samuela Saumatua emphasized the need while opening the 14th annual meeting of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRNC) in the Fijian capital of Suva.

Responding to the existing global pressure to change the current sustainability pattern, in which the economy, environment and social pillars function almost independently to each other, Saumatua said that the green economy concept, if adopted, "holds out much promise" for the region "to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication."

The green economy concept, proposed as one of two significant themes of discussions in next year's UN Conference on Sustainable Development, promises to fully incorporate the environmental and the social agenda into the current economic discussions.

"Given the high dependency of Pacific Islands on their natural environment, with commodities such as fisheries, timber and tourism dominating many national economies, it would therefore make sense to invest in a green economy, said Saumatua.

PIRNC Chairman Taholo Kami also spoke at the opening, saying that the Pacific "may not have a choice" when it comes to greening the economy.

"For us, without our environment and unique societies, we have little else to offer to the global market," he said, adding "after the first Rio meeting in 1992, the world is facing the consequences of ignoring the principles of sustainable development. Today to deal with the consequences, we need a green economy approach."

Stuart Chape, Manager of the Islands Ecosystems Program at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, also told the participants: "The 'green economy' or the 'blue/green economy' is a repackaging of the principles that we have known for decades that must be put into practice if we are to make sustainable development a reality."

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