By Barbara Ratusznik, Public Diplomacy Officer, Pacific Division, AusAID
There is no doubting the diversity of the Pacific region. Environments, languages, cultures, challenges and opportunities all vary hugely from country to country. In the same stretch of ocean, you have Papua New Guinea with a population of 6.9 million people using over 850 languages, and Tokelau which has a total land area of just 12km² and a population of only 1,151.
This diversity extends below the surface into the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific islands lie in an area of ocean covering one-seventh of the globe’s surface, boasting one of the most dynamic marine ecosystems in the world. Six out of the seven different types of sea turtle on the planet can be found here. But numbers of these grandfathers of the sea have been rapidly declining for some time. Every one of the species is now endangered.