The objective of this voluntary commitment is for Fiji to conclude its outstanding maritime delimitation negotiations and complete its full extended continental shelf claims (ECS) report for submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).
Fiji is a coastal sate strategically located in the hub of the Pacific. Fiji shares maritime boundaries with Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga and France (Wallis and Futuna). Given the increasing interests of non-PIC private corporations to secure licenses for seabed exploration, as well as the increase in IUU fishing in the region, Fiji urgently needs to establish its maritime delimitations.
To address this, Fiji established the Maritime Affairs Coordinating Committee (MACC), comprising of government and members of Geoscience Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). MACC has been leading maritime boundary discussions/negotiations in recent years. The MACC is mandated by Fijis Cabinet to develop strategies and negotiate Fijis maritime issues, promote capacity building and provide regular reports to Cabinet, as appropriate, on the management of maritime resources. Among these functions, the Committee is also responsible for the review of various pieces of legislation relevant to the management of maritime resources, including the Marine Spaces Act 1977 and the Continental Shelf Act 1970.
The Committee that originally looked at the finalization of Fijis maritime boundaries and extended ECS as a matter of state security has changed that view, realizing the role it can now play to ensure that SDG 14 and its 7 targets can be achieved. In fact, when looking at all 7 targets it is clear that the finalization of ones maritime boundaries is first needed to be achieved before one can successfully manage its marine resources. A clearly defined maritime boundary and extended continental shelf will allow Fiji to better manage, monitor and protect areas within its jurisdiction.
Using the existing MACC processes to address Fijis pending maritime boundary issues through policy and technical advice based on the principles of UN Convention on the laws of the Sea.
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want