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Rio 20+ and the Blue Economy

This week leaders and delegates from around the world are gathering in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio 20+. On the international agenda are the twin concerns of building green economies in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and fostering an international framework for sustainable development.

New Zealand’s delegation is hoping to make a real impact for the Pacific through its participation in these discussions over the next few days. As laid out in its National Submission to the conference, New Zealand will be pushing for the inclusion of measures to protect and foster the blue economy within the context of the green economy.

The “blue” of the “blue economy” refers to the health and wellbeing of the oceans and the species that dwell within them; the “economy” refers to the livelihood that we and many of our Pacific neighbours derive from this “blue” ecosystem. The importance of this blue economy to the social and economic wellbeing of the Pacific was highlighted at last year’s Pacific Islands Forum, and it was agreed there that New Zealand, as the current chair of the Forum, would bring this matter to the attention of the international community.

The Development Assistance Committee of the OECD has commended New Zealand in the past for championing the oceanic environment on the international stage; an action which it contends has done much to foster sustainable development in the Pacific.

It’s great to see New Zealand using this opportunity in Rio to once again advocate on behalf of the Pacific – what a way to be a good neighbour.

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