Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pacific region unites for International Biodiversity conference

15 August, Fiji - A Pacific meeting to prepare their cohesive voice to share at the international biodiversity stage, opened in Nadi, Fiji this evening.

The Pacific Regional Convention for the Biological Diversity 10th Conference of the Parties Preparatory Meeting has brought together over 30 people from Pacific island governments, partners and conservation workers.

They are getting ready to strengthen the approach from the Pacific for when the World meets in October to address international concerns at the Convention for the Convention for the Biological Diversity 10th Conference of the Parties (CBD COP10) in Nagoya, Japan.

The titles of the meetings are a mouthful, but if you strip the language, basically the conference brings the global community together to discuss ways to prevent the loss of biodiversity.

For the Pacific, our natural surroundings play a particularly important role. Pacific biodiversity is our livelihood, it clothes, feeds and has been the foundation of Pacific culture. Hence the campaign to “Value Island Biodiversity – It’s Our Life.”

So it’s vital the region comes together now, to strategise how the Pacific can best raise their concerns at the international level, so the global community will listen.

“I know it will be a challenge for us at COP 10 because of our small numbers and representation, and this is why we need to collectively, work together” said Ms. Seema Deo on behalf of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme at the opening ceremony. 

“We have to be strategic, planning and creative. COP processes can be quite daunting and intimidating."

At the end of the preparatory meeting it is planned a statement will outline how and where the Pacific will come together to address key biodiversity issues in the region.

Concerns such as; Island biodiversity, protected areas, coastal and marine biodiversity, forestry biodiversity, invasive species, biodiversity and climate change, agriculture biodiversity and, access and benefit sharing; are some of the issues that will be discussed at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in October.

The CBD Conferences of the Parties meets every two years. This year it is a particularly special gathering as the world will measure their performance in meeting the 2010 Biodiversity target to halt biodiversity loss. The Pacific region is represented at the Bureau of the Convention on Biological Diversity by Ms. Tania Temata of the Cook Islands.

“The vision to halt biodiversity loss is a hard vision to achieve and to measure so at the international level we are now looking at reviewing it so it is an achievable target at the global, regional, sub-regional and national level,” said Ms. Temata during her opening remarks.

“We have an action packed agenda over the next three days. We have an important task ahead of us, as we have important issues to tackle at this meeting, let’s do our best.”

Two days will be focused on the biodiversity issues for the Pacific, with the third day spent on a training to upgrade the negotiation skills of the Pacific.

The Pacific Regional CBD COP10 Preparatory Meeting is held at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, Fiji from 16 – 18 August. 

The meeting coordinated by SPREP is funded from the “Capacity building related to implementation of Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEA) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries”, a European Commission funded project implemented through UNEP and executed by SPREP in support of Pacific ACP States and Timor Leste.

Partner organisations attending the pre-COP meeting: Conservation International, IUCN Oceania, WWF, Wildlife Conservation Society, Greenpeace, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, University of the South Pacific, GTZ, UNEP, New Zealand Department of Conservation and Australia Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts.

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