Billions of people depend on the Ocean for their livelihood and food supply, and increased efforts and interventions are needed to conserve and sustainably use ocean resources at all levels, building the foundation for implementing and achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) devoted to the Ocean : SDG 14. The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) has been established with the purpose of fostering “participative and transformative processes so that scientists, policy makers, managers, and service users can work together to ensure that ocean science delivers greater benefits for both the Ocean ecosystem and for society”. Ocean stewardship is central to the health of the planet and the well-being of Pacific peoples, is critical to achieving SDG 14 and the other 16 SDGs, as stated at the COP26 during the Ocean Action Day, and in the upcoming United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference 2022 objectives.
With their close geographical and cultural relation to the Ocean, Pacific Island Countries are experts on their oceanic environment. Pacific Island societal, academic and other stakeholders need sound science, targeted expertise, and reliable data-based information to make informed decisions at the right time and for the right scale and timespan. Co-equal partnership bringing together the expertise, knowledge, experiences and expectations of each party are needed for policy design and implementation to move towards a sustainable future. The current scientific knowledge in support of the SDGs needs to be better shared and the research questions coconstructed with local communities to fully capture the diversity of the knowledge-holders and decision-makers.
PACPATH aims to co-design a robust strategy, projects and services to develop coastal and offshore ocean sciences, ocean stewardship and prototype innovative sustainability pathways.
Building on existing networks, organisations and people, from the South Pacific regional scale, to coastal community scale, PACPATH will host transdisciplinary workshops during its first phase (2022-2023) starting with pilot regions, in Fiji and New Caledonia, to engage local actors, civil society organizations, customary authorities and policy makers.
This umbrella forum intends to create new relationships at different organisational levels to address specific questions :
The initial PACPATH consortium is composed of 14 organizations :
The success of PACPATH will come with local actors and policy makers early in the project. For that purpose, the project puts end-users are at the center of the organization. A specific governance including indigenous and local representatives at all stages, including the Science-Society Council and Executive Board, will orient research and resource allocation. The decision making process will be funded on four local workshops in Fiji and New Caledonia that will include a large panel of local end-users, with specific resources to support local travel fees and the implication of students as ambassadors of the project.