Growing up in Palau in the western Pacific Ocean, Surangel Whipps Jr. played on the reefs and spearfished on an island teeming with birds, giant clams, fish, and turtles.
Climate change and warming ocean waters are causing tuna fisheries to migrate to international waters, away from a country’s jurisdiction, thereby putting the food and economic security of many Pacific Island countries and territories at risk.
Food is everything to the culture and identity of the Pacific island countries.
Climate change impacts of rising sea levels and higher temperatures threaten islanders’ food security, which is largely dependent on fisheries and subsistence agriculture. Almost 70 percent of islanders rely on agriculture for their livelihood.
Before the pandemic emerged in 2020, health services in many Pacific Island countries were under-resourced, under-funded and under-staffed. Now following recent outbreaks of COVID-19, advancing the capacity and development of health and medical services in vulnerable nations, such as Tonga and Kiribati, is increasingly urgent.