18 October, CBD COP 11, Hyderabad India – The Cook Islands, Kiribati, Samoa and Pacific Youth were featured during the Pacific Voyage side event held during the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in India this week.
The event held during the sidelines of the negotiations drew a strong crowd interested in nature conservation work in the Pacific region, eager to exchange solutions and learning experiences. The Pacific event ended with a special performance from the Go4BioDiv International Youth Forum participants.
The Cook Islands presented on their voyage to becoming Biodiversity Champions. Host of the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands, the theme was “Large Ocean Island States, the Pacific Challenge.” At the opening of the Forum in August, the Cook Islands launched their Marine Park, the commitment of the largest area in history by a single country for integrated ocean conservation and management. The Marine Park will encompass approximately 1.1 million square kilometers of the South Cook Islands’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
“We recognise the challenges but take the view that this voyage is ambitions but not impossible. We are encouraged by the innovations coming out of Island Nations for Biodiversity and Ocean Conservation, and look to our fellow nations for guidance based on their experiences thus far,” presented Mr. Joseph Brider of the Cook Islands.
This was followed by a presentation on Innovative Financial Mechanisms of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area by Ms. Nenenteiti Teariki – Ruatu of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development (MELAD). She shared the achievements, challenges and future directions for the PIPA.
“Three key priority areas for our capacity over the next 10 years are; to help us with policy capacity to address the impacts of climate change; management and administration skills and; economic valuation to assist us with valuing our protected areas and species.”
Samoa shared their process for their state of environment report which included wide consultation with all sectors and key stakeholders of the environment in Samoa. Based upon this the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Samoa are now producing materials that can be read and understood by all.
As presented by Faleafaga Toni Tipama’a, “we are making sure that our resources are understood by our local community in Samoa, here in Hyderabad we brought copies of our Samoa Outlook in both English and Samoan languages and all have been taken! This is because we use a lot of imagery in our materials so they are easily understood at a glance, regardless of what language they are in.”
“We are all responsible for taking care of our environment so we made sure that we all had a role to play in preparing the Samoa State of Environment report.”
The Pacific Voyage Side Event ended with a presentation from the youth on the importance of protecting their heritage which was well received by those attending the side event.