Losing territorial waters a real threat: Sayed-Khaiyum

May 5, 2022 7:15 am

Sea. [Photo: Visit Sea Lapland]

Minister for Climate Change, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has highlighted the need to protect the existing territorial integrity of all Pacific Island countries.

As rising sea waters threaten the Small Island States, Sayed-Khaiyum says there remains a possibility of losing territorial waters or the boundaries established by Exclusive Economic Zones.

He says Pacific leaders are constantly meeting to address this issue, as they will not allow the loss of exclusive economic zones to be lost to climate change.

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“Many Pacific Island countries have actually gotten together, their leaders have gotten together and said that we must maintain the territorial territory, the existing territorial territory of our Pacific Island countries.”

He says there is now a movement following on from Glasgow, Scotland, discussing the oceans.

“As you lose landmass, you could actually lose your territorial waters, and whilst we are a very small island development state, we are also large oceanic countries. Fiji’s context is because we are 18,000 square kilometres as far as landmass is concerned, with over 1 million square kilometres of ocean space, so the government’s focus has also always been on the ocean areas.”

Sayed-Khaiyum says the partnership between Fiji National University and Monash University is expected to find ways through research to protect the oceans of this region. He says in Fiji’s case, 30 percent of its ocean areas are protected.