Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Aupito William Sio is travelling to Palau this weekend to reinforce Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of the Pacific at the Our Ocean Conference.
The conference jointly hosted by the Republic of Palau and the United States takes place 13-14 April and for the first time the conference will be held in the Pacific hosted by a small island state.
“I hope that we can demonstrate Pacific leadership on ocean conservation, but also reconnect with many of our Pacific partners after a long period of COVID-19 disruption.” Aupito William Sio said.
“The Pacific is central to the lives, cultures and well-being of Aotearoa and our Pacific whānau. At the ‘Our Ocean Conference’, I will be encouraging progress on issues such as the conservation of marine environments and sustainable use of ocean resources.
“This year’s theme —Our Ocean, Our People, Our Prosperity — draws on Palau’s history as an ocean society and focuses on the approach to Pacific issues of Pacific peoples,” Aupito William Sio said.
The annual Our Ocean Conference provides a platform for commitments and discussion on ocean conservation issues, galvanising efforts to protect and preserve the ocean.
As the first Pacific country and the first Small Island Developing State to host this Conference, Palau will seek to highlight the realities of islands in the face of the ocean-climate crisis – particularly for the Pacific region. The Our Ocean Conferences were started by the former US Secretary of State John Kerry.
“The ocean is central to the lives, cultures and well-being of the New Zealand and our Pacific whānau. At the Our Ocean Conference I will be encouraging progress on issues that are important to our country and the wider region to ensure the conservation of marine environments and sustainable use of ocean resources.
“The ocean as a pathway for our enduring connection with the Pacific is central to Tātai Hono ,the recognition of deep and enduring whakapapa connections,” Aupito William Sio said.