More Pacific Island countries are climbing aboard the ‘Mua: Guided by Nature’ voyage to help convey the ‘one Pacific voice’ to the world, with the number of traditional voyaging canoes sailing from the Pacific to Sydney for the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 rapidly growing into a fleet.
The ‘one Pacific voice’ speaks about the importance of the region’s large oceans and unique island spaces, and their global value in a changing climate. It draws attention to the stand made by many Pacific Island leaders who have pledged millions of square kilometres toward protecting marine areas, while Pacific Island communities drive local action to secure and sustain livelihoods.
Conveying this ‘one Pacific voice’ to the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 is critical, as the Congress – the landmark global forum on protected areas, held once every ten years – is being held in Oceania for the first time. The Congress provides the opportunity to amplify the region’s call for an extraordinary commitment from the global community to manage the oceans for the benefit of all, and to demand greater action from the rest of the world to combat climate change.
IUCN Oceania formally announces the voyage, which will be known as ‘Mua: Guided by Nature’ – with ‘Mua’ simultaneously meaning to journey or travel in a certain direction, and also referring to the bow of a canoe. Voyaging societies from Cook Islands, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga have now joined Fiji in signing memorandums of understanding with IUCN Oceania to collaborate efforts and help make the voyage to Sydney a success.
“It’s our message – that the Pacific Islands and our vast ocean resources are an important natural asset in a climate-changing world – and we need to take extraordinary measures to manage and protect what we have left” says Taholo Kami, Regional Director of IUCN Oceania.
The formal announcement of the ‘Mua’ voyage occurs as part of the 2nd International Sustainable Sea Transport Talanoa, which is being held at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, from Monday 14 to Friday 18 July.
The first voyaging canoe will start sailing in mid-September, travelling from Cook Islands via Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and the eastern coastline of Australia, progressively joining with the other canoes. The fleet will have the world’s attention as it sails into Sydney Harbour on
12 November for the opening of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014.