The negative impacts of climate change are all too common in the Pacific Islands. Islands face a real threat of sea level rise and are increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters, as we saw with Super Cyclone Pam, which devastated Vanuatu in March. As Secretary Kerry highlighted during last year’s Our Ocean Conference, the ocean is essential to maintaining the environment in which we all live. The need for sustainable approaches to business and utilizing natural resources is increasingly evident, and it’s reassuring to see the small and medium sized businesses taking on this challenge.
Last month I met 30 inspiring entrepreneurs from Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands at a Fish 2.0 capacity development workshop in Nadi, Fiji. Supported by the State Department through the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) and co-hosted by the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the workshop taught critical business skills and offered insight into creating a growth plan, communicating visions, and working with investors on a global scale, with a unique focus on sustainability.
Fish 2.0 is a global business competition that connects sustainable fishing and aquaculture businesses with potential investors, offering participating businesses access to mentors, business guidance, and network connections. True progress on conservation and sustainability has the greatest potential when the public and private sector act together. That is why the U.S. State Department is supporting Fish 2.0 -- to help link Pacific Islanders living in the region with mentors, investors, and communities in the United States and around the world, and drive business growth that creates positive environmental and social change.