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Conservation International Applauds Fiji’s Bold Marine Protection Commitments Towards 30x30

July 1, 2022

Lau, Fiji (July 1, 2022) – Conservation International’s Senior Director, Pacific Region, Susana Waqainabete-Tuisese, released the following statement today in response to the announcement by Fiji’s Honorable Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama to commit eight percent of Fiji’s ocean to marine protection at the United Nations Oceans Conference. 

Waqainabete-Tuisese said: 

“Fiji has taken decisive action to accelerate ocean management today by committing over eight percent of their ocean to marine protection by 2024, all located in Fiji’s Lau Seascape. Conservation International applauds this bold move towards delivering on the nation’s goal to protect 30 percent and sustainably manage 100 percent of their ocean by 2030.   

“The Lau Seascape is the most remote island group in Fiji, home to remarkable biodiversity and stunning ecosystems that provide food, cultural value, and livelihoods for its 9,600 inhabitants. Facing immense threats to their environment and culture that mirror challenges across the world, the customary leaders of Lau, with support from the government and partners, have committed to protect their ocean home for current and future generations.  

“By applying the seascape approach to the Province of Lau, Fiji will effectively manage 30 percent of its marine area of 335,000 square kilometers, creating over 100,000 square kilometers of marine protected areas.  

“Once established, these marine protected areas will provide Fiji and the world with a proof of concept – demonstrating how protecting 30% and sustainably managing 100% of an ocean area can benefit local livelihoods, increase resilience to climate change, safeguard biodiversity and strengthen the economy. 

“This historic moment is made possible thanks to the bold leadership of the Fijian Government together with the customary leaders and people of Lau, who have collectively built the Lau Seascape Initiative since 2013, with the support of multiple civil society partners. The announcement by Hon. Bainimarama signifies the collective will of Pacific peoples and their governments to protect and sustainably manage their oceans at all costs, against the impacts of climate change. 

“The Blue Nature Alliance has supported the Lau Seascape Initiative as the Alliance’s first investment site.  

Lau is an inspiration and example, as globally we seek solutions to the urgent climate and biodiversity crisis. We must help secure vital support and financing mechanisms to implement such bold vision and we must do it now - at a time our ocean needs it most.” 

More information on the Lau seascape here.  

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About Conservation International: Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, for biodiversity and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples and local communities to help people and nature thrive together. Go to Conservation.org for more, and follow our work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube 

Media contact: Emmeline Johansen, Asia-Pacific Communications Director, ejohansen@conservation.org, +64 277793401