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The Pacific and the Maritime silk road

Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Andie Fong Toy (PIFS)

HAINAN, China-Marck 27: 3:35pm(Nuku’alofa Times): Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Andie Fong Toy, addressed the prestigious Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan, China, on international and regional cooperation for the sustainable development of our ocean and its resources.

“The ocean is integral to our culture and our livelihoods. It has shaped our way of life. It connects our sea of islands and links us to the rest of the world. And it is of course an important source of income and wealth that drives economic development for us and also for others.”

“We are at the forefront of global efforts aimed at establishing the right balance between sustainably developing, managing and conserving our ocean and its resources. Getting this balance right is the key to good ocean governance and management.  Sustainable oceans must therefore be integral to the new marine economy”, Ms Fong Toy said.

The Deputy Secretary General welcomed China’s Belt and Road Initiative as a contribution to global economic leadership, to address the great need for infrastructure, connectivity, human capital development and access to markets, at a time when the world economy faces serious challenges.

The Belt and Road Initiative invites partnerships to build infrastructure and connectivity to foster trade, investment and people to people links across a land belt from Asia to Europe and along a “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” including island economies.

“The Maritime Silk Road allows us to envisage greater connectivity across the ocean, releasing the potential of our people to build closer links with neighbouring countries, both near and far, and to release the potential of our maritime and island resources to create employment and raise our living standards”, she said.

The Deputy Secretary General noted that the inaugural UN Ocean Conference, to be co-Chaired by Fiji and Sweden in June of this year, will be an important opportunity for generating a global collective consensus regarding long term integrated ocean management and the stewardship of our world’s oceans. She said this should include a strong call for action, a list of voluntary commitments, as well as the development of genuine and enduring partnerships that are appropriate, transparent and accountable and that enable the implementation of initiatives to achieve SDG14.

The Boao Forum for Asia is the Asia Pacific region’s premier leadership dialogue and this year’s theme was “Globalisation and free trade: Asian perspectives”.

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