March 29, 2021

The Pacific Draws the BLUE LINE

Deep Sea Mining is Not Needed, Not Wanted, Not Consented

The Ocean is the living blue heart of our planet, a message echoed by the Pacific Civil Society Organisations as they launched a collective statement calling for a Global Ban on Deep Sea Mining in Nadi, Fiji, today (March 25th 2021.)


The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG), the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), Pacific Islands Association of NGOS (PIANGO), World Wide Fund for Nature Pacific (WWF), and the Development Alternatives with Women for a new era (DAWN), launched a statement calling on  Pacific Island leaders to join the growing ranks of governments, scientific authorities, Civil Society Organisations, Churches, global leaders and indigenous groups and communities who are at the fore front of the struggle across the world to join in the protection of the world’s greatest ocean, the Pacific Ocean. 


 “The Ocean is our common heritage and it’s our common responsibility to protect its life-giving functions, production of oxygen, absorption of carbon as its currents regulate the planet. It is home to millions of living creatures, and for Pacific people it is our source of livelihood, our spiritual connection and well-being is derived from it,” they said.


Guest speaker, former Tuvalu Prime Minister and current Opposition leader, Hon. Enele Sopoaga said this is a very critical time to stand together as Pacific islands people to work together and draw the global attention that our water is “off-limits”


“We need to put a stop to all of this.


“We live in the ocean, we depend on its resources and our children too depend on a healthy ocean,” Hon Sopoaga said while connected to the launch virtually.


He said the launch would undoubtedly open up complicated discussions.


“As long as I am in parliament, I will use all my power to stop mining, use our strengths as small islands states to demand respect from the rest of the world who intends to manipulate and abuse our rights as Pacific islanders,” he said.


PCC General Secretary, Rev. James Bhagwan said for Pacific people, Deep Sea Mining represented the most grievous violation of Mother Ocean, already exploited by those nations that have rejected the basic human responsibility to live in harmony with the fragile ecosystem of our planet for the financial benefit of a few.


“Simply put, the Blue Line of this call against Deep Sea Mining challenges us to be counted as either one who chooses to embrace their cultural, spiritual and moral responsibility of guardianship of the Ocean, or one who chooses to betray it,” Rev Bhagwan added.


PIANGO Executive Director, Siale Ilolahia said that often Pacific leaders called on the global community to support Ocean health and rally for the Climate emergency.


“On the issue of DSM, the Pacific must look inward and rally Pacific leaders to listen to our people. We do not want our ocean mined. Leaders have a moral obligation to ensure the survival of our children, and the livelihoods of our Pacific peoples are safeguarded. They must ban DSM in the Pacific,” she said.


The campaign highlights that deep sea mining is the latest in a long list of destructive industries to be thrust into the Pacific.


As the world embarks on the UN Decade on Ocean Science, the collective stressed in its statement that Pacific leaders must recognise that there is no scenario in which DSM is permissible. If it’s not safe in EEZs of Small Island developing states, it’s not safe in the Pacific as a whole, and therefore not safe for the world. A total ban on DSM is the only way to ensure the integrity of our ocean, the heart of the planet.


The call challenges Pacific island governments keen to pursue DSM to ask themselves, to what extent are they willing to destroy the ocean’s life support system during a time of climate crises, and planetary emergency and in what is commonly known as the age of extinction.


The health of oceans is already under unprecedented threat including from a multitude of human induced stressors such as overfishing, pollution, plastics, nuclear waste and radioactive material, and climate emergency along with related impacts such as ocean acidification and warming of oceans.


The Pacific CSO Collective:

  • calls for recognition that, as our common heritage, the ocean demands our common responsibility for its protection;
  • calls on all Pacific leaders to join the growing ranks of governments, scientific authorities, CSOs, global leaders, Church leaders and indigenous groups the world over in opposing the rush to mine the ocean floor and, in doing so, destroy our common heritage; and
  • welcomes the stand taken by some Pacific governments for a moratorium on DSM within their EEZs but strongly urges all of our governments to champion the need to protect the ocean beyond our EEZs.


At the launch, the Pacific Collective stated, “as custodians to protect our Ocean against its exploitation and destruction, Pacific people have a moral obligation and longstanding legacy to uphold. Be on the right side of history and join the Pacific call for a global ban on Deep Sea Mining.”


The Collective urged individuals and organisations to be on the right side of history and support the call to ban deep sea mining.