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The Blue Economy for the Blue Planet

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Cameron Diver is the Deputy Director-General of the Pacific Community (SPC).

Sea level rise threatens Raolo island in the Solomon Islands. The ongoing negative effects of climate change, inadequate agricultural, industrial and household waste management, to name but a few, all threaten and undermine the promise of the Blue Economy. Credit: Catherine Wilson/IPS.

NEW CALEDONIA, Nov 20 2018 (IPS) – We live on a “blue planet” where water covers around 75 percent of the Earth’s surface. Without water we would simply not survive as a species. As we strive to find pathways to and take action for inclusive sustainable development, we must ensure that our ocean, our seas, rivers, lakes, waterways and wetlands, together with their invaluable biodiversity, are preserved, sustainably used and integrated into development programming.

Above all, we should understand, value and harness these natural pillars of the Blue Economy as answers to many development challenges, as solutions to help us achieve the ambition of the Paris Agreement, deliver a new deal for nature and people, and reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Blue Economy has enormous potential as a driver of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection, but it is also faced with immense challenges.

The ongoing negative effects of climate change, inadequate agricultural, industrial and household waste management, plastic and chemical pollution, corruption and lack of robust water governance mechanisms, the alarming rate of biodiversity loss in global ecosystems and sometimes wilful ignorance of scientific evidence and advice, to name but a few, all threaten and undermine the promise of the Blue Economy.

There are inspiring examples worldwide of action to clean up waterways, restore habitat and create clean environments for economic and recreational activities. But you don’t have to be a wealthy developed country to share the same ambition or achieve similar outcomes.

Here are just a few examples from the Pacific region, whose large ocean/small island states are taking up the challenge, all the while dealing with the immediate impact of climate change, natural disasters and the very real tyranny of distance.

The Pacific Islands are uniquely vulnerable to the environmental impacts of maritime transport due to their reliance on shipping and the fact that many ports in island contexts are located both in the main urban area and in fragile coastal ecosystems like lagoons.

Through programmes like our Green Pacific Port initiative my organisation, the Pacific Community, is helping its Member States address these issues through improved efforts to increase port energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint, and enhanced environmental management including marine pollution and waste management.

In the tiny archipelago of Wallis and Futuna, the issue of used oils, batteries and saturated landfill was prioritised by local authorities due to its potential repercussions on the quality of the aquifer, lagoon and coastal water, and of course marine biodiversity.

Working alongside local communities and decision makers, our teams contributed to developing multiple measures to remove hazardous waste from the islands. A viable export business was set up to process this type of waste and, on the island of Futuna, the landfill was closed and underwent site remediation.

In the agriculture sector Pacific Island countries are also tackling threats to soil quality, plant life and water resources. In Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Samoa we are helping develop and implement innovative approaches using soft chemicals and biocides to target specific pests and diseases without affecting other forms of biodiversity and significantly lessening the environmental impact.

Alongside other partners, the Pacific Community contributed to the 2018 Pacific Marine Climate Change Report Card. The Report Card provides an easy to access summary of climate change impacts on coasts and seas in the Pacific region.

It also highlights the critical nexus between the ocean and climate change and underscores the significant threat that deteriorating marine and coastal biodiversity would present for livelihoods, health, culture, wellbeing and infrastructure.

It also proposes are range of responses Pacific Islands can adopt such as: building resilience to unavoidable climate change impacts on coral reefs, mangroves and seas grass by reducing non-climate threats and introducing protected areas; working with communities to diversify fisheries livelihoods and restore and preserve fish habitats; optimising the sustainable economic benefits from tuna through regional management.

For the large ocean/small island States of the Pacific region the ocean is at the heart of their identity: “We are the sea, we are the ocean, we must wake up to this ancient truth”. Through the Blue Pacific narrative, Oceania’s Leaders seek to harness the potential of Pacific peoples’ shared stewardship of the Pacific Ocean based on an explicit recognition of their shared ocean identity, ocean geography, and ocean resources.

The Blue Economy must therefore contribute to the Blue Pacific identity and help fulfil a higher ambition for regionalism and sustainable development based first and foremost on the deep-rooted bond between the peoples of the Pacific, the land, the ocean and biodiversity.

In this context, the Pacific Community and our partners provide scientific and technical expertise and advice for evidence-based policy making and sustainable solutions tailored to the needs of the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories. Globally, as in the Pacific, we must ensure that the Blue Economy is more than a slogan, more than a concept encouraging sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth.

It must become a concrete reality where decisions are informed by science and the best available evidence. We must use the Blue Economy so that nature and the environment are not sacrificed for short-term political or economic gain but leveraged for long-term sustainable growth and development.

We must truly transform the promise of the Blue Economy from the page and the conference hall to tangible and integrated climate action, ocean action and biodiversity action to guarantee a sustainable future for our planet and, as a consequence, ourselves.


Le dessin du jour. Le court-circuit Carlos Ghosn

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Carlos Ghosn, PDG de Renault et président du conseil d’administration de Nissan et Mitsubishi Motors, a été placé en garde à vue le 19 novembre au Japon. Il est soupçonné d’abus de bien social, malversations financières et fraude fiscale.

Avec cette mise en cause, on assiste à la chute de l’un des patrons les plus emblématiques au monde. La nouvelle met l’État français – en tant que premier actionnaire de Renault – dans une position difficile. Quant au géant automobile Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, il est fortement ébranlé, comme le souligne Kichka dans ce dessin. En deux jours, le titre de Renault a perdu 9,5 % à la Bourse de Paris.

IOM Creates Emergency Safe Havens for Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugees

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Migration & Refugees, TerraViva United Nations

The block M24 (Camp 20) mosque is one of the community structures upgraded by IOM, with funding from ECHO, to provide temporary shelter for Rohingya refugees during emergencies. Photo: IOM

Cox’s Bazar, Nov 20 2018 (IOM) – Dozens of community buildings in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps have been upgraded by shelter teams from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, to provide temporary accommodation for refugees in emergency situations.

Seventy buildings have now been completed under the first phase of the project, supported by the European Union (EU), offering temporary shelter space for over 4,500 people.

The upgraded structures will allow IOM shelter and site management teams to provide better protection for refugees if they are affected by landslides, floods, bad weather or other unexpected events that force them to leave their own shelters.

Mohammed Nur, 36, a maji or community representative, said: “If weather conditions turn bad and storms destroy our shelters, people from our area will be able to stay here safely for a few days. It is a relief for all of us.”

In a second phase of community shelter upgrade work, to be funded by the United Kingdom, a further 100 buildings will undergo improvements. Once completed, the 170 strengthened structures will be able to accommodate 10,000 people with urgent shelter needs.

The facilities will also serve as a temporary accommodation for families whose shelters need to be repaired or completely re-built in the coming months, as the dry season offers a window of opportunity to tackle damage inflicted during the monsoon season.

“IOM and partners have provided over 100,000 households with materials to help them upgrade their own shelters. But weather and environmental conditions in the camps mean tens of thousands of families live with the knowledge that their shelters could be damaged or destroyed at any time,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM’s Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“Ensuring we have secure and stable buildings in which people can safely take shelter if disaster strikes is hugely important under such circumstances. This project means that even though people are living in very uncertain conditions, if the worst happens, we are still able to offer them a safe haven.”

The EU funding was provided by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) under a consortium project implemented by IOM, the German Red Cross, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The Disaster Risk Reduction consortium was established to mitigate against disasters among refugee and local communities affected by the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Almost a million Rohingya are currently living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, after escaping violence in Myanmar, which surged in late August 2017 sending over 500,000 people fleeing across the border in just a few weeks. The region is prone to some of the worst monsoon conditions on earth and undergoes two cyclone seasons each year.

Most Rohingya live in what has become the largest refugee settlement in the world – a desperately overcrowded environment on ground prone to landslides and flooding. People living in local villages, where infrastructure has been severely overstretched since the arrival of so many people in a very short period, also face ongoing risk of environmental and other disasters.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar. Email:, Tel: +88 0 1733 33522


Vu du Japon. La chute attendue de Carlos Ghosn

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Le patron de Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, a redressé l’entreprise lorsqu’elle était au plus bas. Cependant, sa longévité à ce poste – il est à sa tête depuis une vingtaine d’années – a atteint ses limites. Sa métamorphose a commencé en 2009, quand il a été nommé PDG de Renault. Il semble en effet qu’il a minimisé ses déclarations de revenus depuis le début de son règne sur les deux entreprises.

En juillet dernier, lorsque l’affaire des falsifications des contrôles de pollution dans les usines Nissan a éclaté, les dirigeants du groupe japonais ont tenu une conférence de presse, mais M. Ghosn, qui était en vacances avec sa famille sur une île voisine et qui avait été informé, n’a pas