Ship­ping in a Bub­ble, Re­set­ting Our Think­ing

Fiji Sun - - ANALYSIS -

drua i Vola Si­gavou. need for a re­search-based strate­gic pivot to­wards a covid-free Pa­cific Eco­nomic Zone.

Just like ear­lier gen­er­a­tions of Pa­cific deep-thinkers such as Epeli Hau’ofa were ask­ing 30 years ago, Mr Tevi asks if we are fi­nally ready to stop think­ing we are to­tally de­pen­dent on out­side help be­fore de­sign­ing our new nor­mal. It’s an in­cite­ful and thought-pro­vok­ing piece of writ­ing and Mr Tevi’s wise words are worth read­ing.

Last week Christina Figueres, (United na­tions (UN) lead ne­go­tia­tor for the Paris Agree­ment) warned that glob­ally we have 18 months left – with the tril­lions be­ing spent on COVID-19 re­cov­ery rep­re­sent­ing the “last chance to turn away from eco­nomic mod­els with dan­ger­ously high emis­sion lev­els”. world for their ships, some, such as Fiji, have been able to pur­chase new ves­sels or sub­sidise the pri­vate sec­tor from Gov­ern­ment bud­gets. The vast ma­jor­ity of our re­gion’s ships are still old and in­ef­fi­cient.

The con­cept of hav­ing a Pa­cific is­lands eco­nomic or trade “bub­ble” (that maybe does or doesn’t in­clude New Zealand and Aus­tralia for the mo­ment) and in­vest­ing in re­build­ing our ca­pac­ity to build our own new green boats in­side the re­gion, en­abling in­ter-re­gional trade, is a par­a­digm shift from the pre-COVID-19 “nor­mal”.

But Fiji’s “once in a life­time” op­por­tu­nity to press the re­set but­ton on where our de­vel­op­ment focus lies ends this week with the June 5 dead­line for sub­mis­sions to the 2020-21 bud­get

As gov­ern­ments in the re­gion look to stim­u­late na­tional economies, mil­lions of dol­lars are go­ing to be in­vested in var­i­ous parts of the econ­omy. The ques­tions are which parts and what should be the focus?

Ap­ply­ing the wis­dom of Fe’íloak­i­tau Kaho Tevi would say put some of the money into a long term pro­gramme for build­ing low car­bon boats for the Pa­cific Is­lands, and the sea­far­ers to sail and main­tain them, so that when the next pan­demic or se­vere trop­i­cal cy­clone hits we have the re­silience within the re­gion to sup­port each other, and to re­duce our de­pen­dency on “de­vel­op­ment” aid and dis­as­ter re­sponse from out­side.

Fe’íloak­i­tau Kaho Tevi.

Alison Newell is a Di­rec­tor of Sail­ing for Sus­tain­abil­ity (Fiji) Pte Ltd and the owner of the She is a Fiji-based ex­pert in ship­ping emis­sions who has been un­der­tak­ing re­search on do­mes­tic GHG emis­sions since 2008.

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