Our Sea of Islands
A Regional Forum for Oceania on Marine Managed Areas and World Heritage
Oceania is an expansive geographic region dominated by an ocean that covers over one-third of the surface of the earth. This region is larger than the total land area of the entire world and is comprised of numerous island groups collectively referred to as Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and Australia. Oceania is significant for its vast marine resources and biological and cultural heritage. Protection of marine resources and associated habitats in this region is critically important to conservation of marine biodiversity and ecological processes, as well as the overall health of these ecosystems.
Build local and regional pride across Oceania while enhancing natural and cultural heritage through information sharing, adaptive use of management tools, and relationship building regarding marine managed areas in Oceania.
- highlight current efforts to protect important marine areas in the Pacific;
- share and expand technical expertise among managers, community leaders and indigenous practitioners;
- recognize and strengthen leadership capacity;
- develop a shared and informed understanding of attempts to balance the effects of capitalization/westernization with maintaining a traditional way of life in Oceania, particularly with respect to customary marine management practices;
- increase public awareness of the protection and conservation of important near-shore ecosystems within Oceania
- build upon established marine managed area networks across Oceania, and collaborate with ongoing efforts of other organizations such as the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the International Marine Protected Areas Congress, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and All Islands Coral Reef Initiative; the Pacific Islands Marine Protected Area Community, and UNESCO's World Heritage Pacific 2009 Program;
- increase understanding of UNESCO's World Heritage site nomination process and use of the World Heritage Convention as a marine conservation tool in the Pacific.
The forum is organised in collaboration with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and UNESCO World Heritage Centre's Marine Programme.