Panelists discuss blue economy issues

Picture: YOUTUBE/Satellite Applications Catapult

A PANEL discussion that was held on Thursday on “An inclusive blue economy: What does a people-centred blue economy look like?” generated many issues in terms of what blue economy is, and how economies such as Fiji and the Pacific would attain and manage a sustainable blue economy.

Facilitated by the European Union-funded civil society strengthening program, Raising Pacific Voices (RPV), panellist speakers included leaders who addressed the theme from the perspectives of women, legal, theological and regional intergovernmental organisations.

This included the use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem in which the members of the panel shared their views on.

Speaking as a panellist, the secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Development Forum Francois Martel said the lack of understanding to what sustainable blue economy really meant to the Pacific was one of the main reasons that these conferences began.

“If no one understands what the blue economy is, then we will have difficulties as an organisation in working with the communities and with partners across the region, so typically it is like the green economy with green growth but for marine resources in particular,” he said.

Another equally important point raised during the discussion was the role of women fishers and their contribution to their livelihood and the economy.

As highlighted by Aliti Vunisea from the Women in Fisheries network, women’s roles have certainly changed over the years.

“Women are not just collecting fishes and shells any more, but they are contributing to the fisheries sector, the work of going out to sea, collecting seashells and catching fishes and other seafood requires a lot of hard work and skills,” she added.

Panellist members also debated on the issue of the responsibilities for using ocean resources not just for financial gain, but also maintaining it for a sustainable economy.

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