The Pacific Voyage Media Team
19 October Nagoya, Japan - Palau has called on participants at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10) to recognise small island nations as leaders in the large scale protected areas initiative.
During the Working Group discussions on Protected Areas, an intervention from Palau was made by its National Environmental Planner Sebastian Marino.
“We would like to support the statement of the Pacific Island Countries grouping as presented by Fiji.
"We would like to build upon the statement to recognize the important efforts of Micronesian region in the global protected areas efforts,” Marino said. (Please check story Pacific raises voice at negotiations on marine and coastal biodiversity for details on the Pacific statement presented by Fiji)
Marino emphasized on the Micronesia Challenge as an example to meet protected area targets.
The Micronesia Challenge is a regional inter-governmental initiative that will facilitate more effective conservation of marine and forest resources in Micronesia. The regional initiative conserves 30 percent of near shore coastal waters and 20 percent of forest land by 2020.
The Micronesia Challenge is Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. These nations and territories represent nearly 5 percent of the marine area of the Pacific Ocean and 7 percent of its coastlines.
Marino shared during the intervention that the Micronesia Challenge is aiming to protect 30% of near shore resources by 2020.
The Phoenix Island Protected Area is an undertaking by Kiribati which establishes 408,000 sq. km. as a marine protected area – one of the largest in the world.
“Madam chair, I am sure that you realize that these efforts are being undertaken by some of the smallest countries in the world”, stated Marino.
“In order to sustain these types of efforts in our Pacific Ocean to meet the 2012 marine protected area targets - long-term global support will be needed.”
The Pacific Island nations which comprises of the Parties to the Nauru agreement are also leading the way in the protection of high seas.
During a recent tuna summit, the eight nations - Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu have closed pockets of high seas surrounding their Exclusive Economic Zone from fishing.
"We hope that these innovative approaches to close high seas areas to fishing will be supported by the decisions made at this meeting. We call for action of all parties to move forward with the high seas agenda,” Marino emphasizes.
To read the full intervention made by Palau please read below:
"Thank you Madam Chair and congratulations for your appointment to the chair of this important working group and I would also like to thank you for allowing me to take the floor on this very important issue.
Before I begin addressing issues on this subject matter, let me bring our attention to those local communities who are directly dependent on such resources for their economic survival, as we are here today, talking about the importance of preserving and protecting them. In this context, Madam Chair, I would like to propose that, as we continue our deliberation today, we should put into consideration and recognize the commitments and sacrifices these communities are facing each and every day as they commit their resources for the benefit of human kind and for the future benefit of this planet earth.
Palau would like to support the statement of the Pacific Island Countries grouping as presented by Fiji. We would like to build upon the statement to recognize the important efforts of Micronesian region in the global protected areas efforts.
In the Pacific Ocean, a number of small islands have taken massive steps towards the global goals for marine protected areas.
We recognize the vital importance of the creation of a representative system of Marine Protected Areas and would like to emphasize the Micronesian Challenge as a fine example of a tool for a systematic approach to meeting the various marine protected area targets. The Micronesian Challenge is working with 5 Pacific Island entities/countries with EEZs and territorial waters covering 6.7 million comprising 5 percent of the Pacific Ocean and 7 percent of its coastlines. The Micronesia Challenge is aiming to protect 30% of near shore resources by 2020.
We also wish to share some of the other bold moves made in the Pacific for example, the 408,000 km2 Phoenix Island Protected Area established by Kiribati which was recently inscribed into the World Heritage List. The country of Kiribati, - one of the smallest countries of the world - has created one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. In order to sustain these types of efforts in our Pacific Ocean to meet the 2012 marine protected area targets - long-term global support will be needed.
Palau and its 8 country partners in the Party to the Nauru agreement are leading the way in the protection of the high seas. This action by 8 Pacific Island nations have closed pockets of high seas surrounding there EEZs. Madam chair, we hope that these innovative approaches to close high seas areas to fishing will be supported by the decisions made at this meeting. We call for action of all parties to move forward with the high seas agenda.
In summary, the countries and states of Micronesia are leading the way in many of the large scale protected areas initiative. Madam chair, I am sure that you realize that these efforts are being undertaken by some of the smallest countries in the world.
We look forward to recognition of these efforts and approaches, and further support by relevant parties.
Madam Chair, Palau welcomes and support your suggestion to specific paragraphs in the working document and we look forward to an effective discussion and fruitful conclusion on such important issues.
Thank you very much Madam Chair for the opportunity!"