Friday, October 22, 2010

The Pacific Voyage - Side Event

22 October 2010 Nagoya Japan -

Invitation to the Pacific Voyage Side Event:

Update on the Side Event from the ENB Bulletin :

Coverage of Selected Side Events at the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Available in full with images at: 
Date 22 October 2010

David Sheppard, Director, Secretariat for the Pacific Environment Regional Programme (SPREP), noted that SPREP is the main environmental organization in the Pacific region that focuses specifically on biodiversity, which he called the “lifeblood of the Pacific people.” To move forward with saving their lifeblood, Sheppard suggested the need to: build more effective and sustainable agencies for biodiversity management; create effective links between climate change and biodiversity; develop and encourage Pacific solutions to Pacific problems by building on traditional practices; and improve links between biodiversity conservation and sustainable development by building a strong economic case.

Eleni Rova Tokaduadua, Ministry of Local Government, Housing, Urban Development and Environment, Fiji, described the Locally Managed Marine Area Network, which was established primarily to address food security. She outlined a number of successes that resulted from the Network’s creation, including that species not seen in generations are returning and that there has been improved community organization and human wellbeing.

Ratita Bebe, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development, Kiribati, discussed the creation of protected areas on the Phoenix Islands and Kiritimati Island. She said the goal was to protect the islands, which are home to globally important seabird populations and vital to migratory bird routes across the Pacific.

Faleafaga Toni TipamaĆ , Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Samoa, discussed restoration of Nu’utele and Nu’ulua, Aleipata Islands, through work to eradicate Pacific rats and control yellow crazy ants, one of the largest invasive ant species in the world.

Julien Calas, French Development Agency, discussed lessons learned from locally-managed marine areas in the South Pacific Island Region, emphasizing the need for collaboration and communication between those involved on all islands to ensure that best practices are shared. He also noted the need to provide sufficient time for the projects to develop, which is approximately 10-15 years.

Participants discussed, inter alia: the impact of using poisonous rat bait on non-target species; and climate change and environmental refugees in the Pacific islands.

Photos from the Pacific Voyage Side Event:



Eleni Tokaduadua, Easter Galuvao, Ratita Bebe

 Papua New Guinea - Chair of the Pacific Voyage

Eleni Tokaduadua of Fiji making a presentation

Addressing the room

Attending The Pacific Voyage side event

 Faleafaga Tony Tipama'a from Samoa

Ratita Bebe making her presentation

Julien Calas, Agence Francaise de Developpement

Mr. David Sheppard launching a case study on Voices of the Ocean Lessons from the Whales for the CBD

Questions from the floor

Bilung Gloria Salii and Tiare Holm (Palau)

Questions from the floor

 Lessons from the Whales at the CBD

Learning from past experiences and building lasting partnerships was the underlying theme of a report launched on Friday 22 October at the Pacific Voyage side event during the tenth Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP10). 

The report, titled “Ocean Voices: Lessons from the Whales for the CBD” outlines the status and trends of humpback whale populations in Oceania and presents a story of conservation efforts to address the steep decline in population numbers due to whaling in the early 1960’s.

Stacy Jupiter of WCS at the launch of the case study

Due to the highly migratory nature of humpback whales, effective conservation requires active partnerships at international, regional and national and local level.

Oceania humpback whales spend their time traveling between the Pacific Ocean and the freezing waters of the Antarctic. They feed in the food-abundant but ice-cold waters of the Antarctic and then migrate to the Pacific waters where they can breed. The warm waters of the Pacific Ocean are far friendlier to new-born whale calves, which have little body fat at birth and would probably die in the Antarctic.

The report highlights the value of whales to many Pacific islands where they are a tourist attraction, bringing in significant economic benefits. The report notes that the Oceania humpback whale population remains low and states that this is limiting the economic opportunities for Pacific islands from whale-watching tourism.

Various threats to whales face as they travel between the Antarctic and the Pacific are highlighted. Other than “direct take” or whaling, threats include death of whales by drowning in nets and eating plastic and other rubbish. Collisions with ships and boats, noise and climate change were also listed as significant threats to the well-being of whales.  Further research is necessary to understand and address these threats.

The report discusses the efforts of several Pacific island countries and territories in establishing or declaring their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) as marine mammal sanctuaries. To date, these are American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tokelau and Vanuatu. The marine mammal sanctuaries total over 11 million square kilometres of ocean.

A brochure summarising the full report noted that long term partnerships, commitment and investment is essential to foster recovery of this species. 

The report was produced through a joint partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium (SPWRC) and Conservation International and funded by the European Commission through its project on Capacity Building for Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

Further information or to obtain the full report, contact: Lui Bell.

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