Solomon Islands Celebrates World Environment Day 2024

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BY JOHN HOUANIHAU

THE Minister of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management, and Meteorology, Honourable Trevor Mahaga, said the theme for this year’s World Environment Day theme suits the Solomon Islands.

The Honourable Mahaga made the remark when making his keynote address on June 5 on the occasion of 2024 World Environment Day, World Oceans Day, and Coral Triangle Day Honiara.

“My good people, today marks a very special occasion that we commemorate each year on June 5th, ‘World Environment Day’. Also, in the coming days, together with our stakeholder partners and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, we will commemorate “World Oceans Day,” celebrated on June 8th, and Coral Triangle Day, on June 9th.

“World Environment Day, is a United Nations’ initiative to raise global awareness and action for the environment. We celebrate this special day by giving a “voice and face” to environmental issues, by “giving a hand” to address these challenges, and by advocating for positive actions to safeguard the environment.

“This year’s World Environment Day theme is “Land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience,” with the slogan Our Land, Our Future, We Are Generation Restoration. And indeed, this is a call that is so fitting for our beloved country, where land underlies our very own livelihood and survival. Most of our land is under customary ownership and hosts important resources for our survival,’’ Mahaga.

He said that land restoration is a key pillar of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and the Solomon Islands must take urgent action to address pressing issues against land degradation.

“We cannot turn back time, but we can grow forests, revive water sources, and bring back soils. We are the generation that can make peace with the land. Focusing on this theme, let me also take this time to encourage all our stakeholders to take actions to restore our lands. The process of halting degradation or rehabilitating degraded land is important. We must continue to encourage activities like reforestation, soil conservation, and the protection of natural processes that aim to enhance biodiversity, restore ecosystem services, and mitigate climate change impacts,’’ he said.

Minister Mahaga said that by supporting World Environment Day 2024 and under the slogan “generation restoration” here in the Solomon Islands, we have pledged support for a generation who desire to restore this unique and beautiful planet to a sustainable and comfortable home for humanity.

“Ladies and gentlemen, on June 8, is “World Oceans Day.” Again, this provides an opportunity to remind us of our responsibility to take care of our oceans. Globally, oceans cover 70% of the planet, supporting all its life. It feeds billions of people. Oceans host 80% of the world’s biodiversity. For the Solomon Islands, we are ocean people, and our livelihood depends on our ocean.

This year’s World Oceans Day theme is “Catalyzing Action for Our Oceans and Climate, which is a motivation for more tangible actions to protect and restore our oceans beyond June 8th.

“And I wish to encourage all partners to actively engage to address major interconnected issues, such as plastics, overfishing, biodiversity loss, the climate crisis, and more threats that we all collectively face. 

Minister Mahaga also said that the 9th of June is recognized as the Coral Triangle Day, a day set aside by the six Coral Triangle countries, including the Solomon Islands, to celebrate the Coral Triangle as a globally significant eco-region and epicentre of marine biodiversity in the world.

“It aims to garner support to help conserve and protect this natural treasure. The theme for this year is “Balancing Marine Conservation and the Blue Economy,” which is a very timely call to ensure that our conservation efforts are incentivized with sustainable development to support our national economy,’’ he said.

He stressed that his ministry has always supported these events, ensuring that the Solomon Islands join the global community to reflect, promote, and advocate for more attention to many of the environmental issues faced by our communities, our provinces, and our country.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as we commemorate these events, I would like to reflect and acknowledge the resurgence of partners and citizen-driven activities that reflect positively on the themes of these events. We cannot turn back time, but we can grow forests, revive water sources, and bring back soils. We are the generation that can make peace with the land,” he said.


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