Shipping in a Bubble, Resetting Our Thinking
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.
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.