“We need to see the whole cost of development, both to the retention of our cultural values, social wellbeing and preservation of the quality of the natural environment, and not only the benefits as they contribute to the GDP. It will require courage and a determination to dare to be different, but we in the Pacific Islands are different. Our unique cultural values, traditions, dependency on the natural environment, and the fragility of the environment make it inevitable that we take a different perspective to the way we value our development. The call for ecological accounting is timely and appropriate, It is an idea and call whose time is actually overdue.”
Excerpt:‘Reweaving the Ecological Mat Framework’ and ‘Ecological Economic Accounts -Towards Intemerate Values’ presents an alternative narrative that challenges the age-old position that all that exists is simply to serve human civilisation. It reaffirms the need to consider the full cost of ‘development’beyond its contributions to the Gross Domestic Product of individual States – that is, the importance of considering its costs on our cultural values, social wellbeing and preservation of our natural environment.
The two publications contend that we need to move away from this and re-balance our narrative by infusing it with our Pacific consciousness and its inextricable link to our environment and cultural norms. This will allow us to embrace fit-for purpose economies that are scaled to our needs, sustaining communities and strengthening resilience through our traditional roles as stewards and custodians of our natural surroundings.
I am intrigued by the notion and possibility of not only exploring an alternative development pathway but adopting an ecological approach towards accounting for development. Indeed, this approach could eventually reorient our economic trajectory away from an over-reliance on foreign aid and financing which, in my view, has been a negative force for our island economies.
Ladies and gentlemen, regionalism is fundamentally about working together where it matters most. In reflecting on the publications today, perhaps one could offer that for our Blue Pacific Continent, the ecological biodiversity of our shared ocean space is where it matters most?
The ecology of our vast ocean, forests and natural environment underpins our wellbeing as Pacific peoples. Our cultural wellbeing is inseparable from our ocean ecology. Our food security is dependent on it. Our economies are driven by it, whether that be in the form of tuna fisheries, tourism, ecosystems or biodiversity. Therefore, if I were to reflect again on my initial question What is the future of our Blue Pacific region? Perhaps, an answer on the viability of our Oceanic future, could lie in the protection of and accounting for our shared ecological biodiversity.
An important first step to the protection or and accounting for our shared ecological biodiversity, is the securing of our maritime zones. To this end, I have had the distinct pleasure of joining the region in a collective discussion over the last week, to strategise the steps towards developing international law that would ensure that Members maritime zones are set in perpetuity and cannot be challenged or reduced as a result of sea-level rise and climate change. This journey is not a short one and will take years to crystallise and progress, however, collective and consistent advocacy will remain key to its success.
Officiating the Voices in the Deep (VOID) art exhibition, it’s really good to hear the President of The Republic of Fiji, His Excellency Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote, speak so favorably about the Reweaving the Ecological Mat movement. With his attention fixed on these issues around our ecological biodiversity and the process for national accounting, …
Our Pacific Voyagers carry a tremendous burden. They carry the weight of our history and who we are as Pacific Islanders. They are risk takers who defy western conventions to prove that our traditional knowledge has a place in the world. They are revolutionaries who defy decades of the colonial system that has sought only …
This video was done in the summer of 2019. While the variables and the equation are the same, some of the details within this equation have evolved and streamlined, especially due to the COVID-19 global economy. For example, we have expanded certain aspects of the Equalization Factor to have broader more international reach with potentially greater cooperation over how this would function within both the OECD and the Global South. While the story has changed, the basic equation has not.
Another video will be produced soon.
Ecological-Economic Accounts: Towards Intemerate Values:
Reweaving the Ecological Mat (co-author)
From the Deep: Pasifiki Voices for New Story (compilation)