As custodians of the world's largest ocean, it is of great importance to us that the disturbed equilibrium of the oceanic ecosystem be restored. 

This was highlighted by the Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Dr. Mahendra Reddy while speaking at the 30th Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) - Environment Ministers’ High- Level Talanoa session last week.

"Our social and economic activities, our growth and development, our wellbeing are all linked to the vast stretch of oceans around us. We have for long, established a state of equilibrium with the oceans around us. 

"Like any equilibrium, if any aspects of it are shocked or disturbed, then the entire system is affected. Once the shock subsides, then a new equilibrium is established. However, when the shock is continuous, then it’s not possible to establish a new equilibrium. The system is in utter chaos. If the shock or disturbance is periodic or frequent, then it’s very costly to continuously establish a new equilibrium.

Minister Reddy also stated that all parties were currently in a very difficult situation whereby shocks and disturbances to the collective goal continuously challenged and impacted ongoing efforts, thereby not allowing an equilibrium for stable growth to be established. 

"Our oceans are being continuously threatened by commercial and land-based activities, developed country activities and climate change. 

"As Small Island states, what is in our control is land-based activities on our own islands, but climate change and external activities in developed countries are beyond our control. Therefore, our livelihoods are now under serious threat," he said.

Additionally, Minister Reddy said Fiji had taken a number of critical measures to address pollution and had also introduced a robust legislative framework to impede marine pollution and protect our oceans whereby he mentioned the Environment Management Act 2005 and the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations 2007, that regulates the disposal of all types of waste generated by commercial facilities in Fiji.

Minister Reddy informed the Environment Ministers that Fiji strongly supported the establishment of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution, in an effort towards achieving a Global Agreement without delaying the urgent actions required to prevent further plastic and micro-plastics pollution.

The “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” which aims to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050, which was also a topic of discussion during the forum is also being strongly supported by Fiji as a means to restore the natural equilibrium of the ocean.